Book 1, Chapter 3 Summary
While petting with Isabelle, Amory hurts her neck with his shirt stud. They begin to argue, and Amory realizes that he really has no affection for her at all. Isabelle claims that Amory is too conceited. He breaks off his relationship with her. He returns to Princeton the next morning.
Having failed a math class the previous year, Amory arrives at Princeton early in September to take a tutoring class and a make-up exam. He knows that, should he fail the exam, he will forfeit his position on the Princetonian board as well as jeopardize much of his chance for success. However, he does not study and therefore fails. Rather than blame his own laziness, Amory feels that it was his destiny to fail. This failure has brought him back to the “fundamental” Amory that he once was.
At Thanksgiving, Amory’s father dies. Amory attends the funeral without emotion. He is more interested in hearing the conditions of the will and the state of his father’s finances. It seems that the late Mr. Blaine made several bad investments, and the family finances have been severely depleted. Beatrice has her own income, but much of this went to pay for medical expenses during her nervous breakdown. Beatrice speaks of investing heavily in railroad and street car stocks because she believes that people will not long stay in one place.
Before returning to Princeton, Amory spends part of the Christmas vacation with Monsignor Darcy in New York. Monsignor explains to Amory that he is more of a personage than a personality. A personality is active, always overriding whatever comes next. A personage collects experiences like medals. Amory has considered leaving college and joining the Lafayette Esquadrilles, an aviation company...
(The entire section is 458 words.)