Book 1, Chapter 2 Summary
At Princeton, Amory meets his roommates, Burne and Kerry Holiday. The three live off campus because there is not much for freshmen to do on the campus. While Amory enjoys himself in college, he realizes the social distinctions are created by the strong to protect the weak who cater to the strong as well as to keep out the “almost strong.” Intent on becoming a big man on campus, Amory joins the football team but eventually must drop out after a rather severe injury. Instead he joins the board of the Daily Princetonian newspaper, thinking this will give him some popularity. It does not, but he vows that he will make his mark during his sophomore year.
Amory befriends Tom d’Invilliers, an intellectual who shares Amory’s love of books. They enjoy intellectual, literary conversations. He envies some of the other boys, especially Dick Humbird, whom he sees as the epitome of sophistication.
During the summer following Amory’s freshman year, the First World War breaks out. Amory pays little attention to it. He sees it only as an “amusing melodrama,” nothing more. During his sophomore year, Amory joins the Triangle Club, the musical theatre group at Princeton. On tour over Christmas vacation, Amory meets Isabelle Borge in Minneapolis. He remembered her as a little girl from his childhood. Isabelle has come to be what was known as a “Popular Daughter,” someone who smoked and drank and kissed. Amory is entranced, and the two go off to a quiet room to talk. Though Amory knows it is not likely that they will meet again, he decides he wants to kiss her. On his attempt, however, they hear the others coming into the room. They separate, but their relationship is far from over.
According to his plan, Amory becomes a big man on campus during his sophomore year, mainly due to his position on the newspaper. He joins the Cottage Club,...
(The entire section is 493 words.)