Chapter 1 Summary: Hemingway's novel, written in the first-person from Jake Barnes perspective, opens with Robert Cohn's introduction. The reader is given a negative, stereotyped view of Cohn and his personal life. Chapter 1 ends with Jake, Robert, Frances (Robert's partner) going out to a café. Cohn feels like there is more in store for him in life and pitches a trip to Jake to get out of Paris for some time. Jake mentions he knows a woman in Strasbourg. Robert, walking Jake out of the café, mentions Frances' jealously when Jake brought up the Strasbourg woman. Despite Jake's negative view of Cohn, Jake still "rather liked him."
Chapter 2 Summary: Winter comes and Robert leaves Paris for New York, pursuing publication for his novel. Robert finds not only literary success but also social popularity, gaining the attention of younger women in the city. During this time, Cohn takes a liking to W.H. Hudson's The Purple Land, leading him to think idealistically about travelling aboard. Upon his return to France, Cohn claims he is “sick of Paris, and… sick of the Quarter.” Jake argues “going to another country doesn’t make a difference,” but Cohn is adamant in his desires to travel outside Paris. The chapter ends with Jake imagining his friends’ “bedroom scenes” after Cohn falls asleep in Jake’s office.
Chapter 1 Annotations
*The French flag emoji (🇫🇷) is placed next to French words with accompanying translation for reference.
Anti-Semitism and the "Nose"
There is a long-standing stereotype against the ethnic Jew concerning the “hooked nose.” According to Bernice Schrank, “the nose has for a very long time been (and continues to be) one of the most pervasive and popular means for negatively stereotyping Jews.” Schrank also notes that such a physical denotation towards the Semitic nose arose in anthropological circles in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (24). Jake’s commentary towards Robert’s nose and its “improved” appearance suggests anti-Semitic rhetoric against Cohn. This is the first instance of the anti-Semitic motif found throughout TSAR.
There have been several “Spider Kellys” in boxing, but the most famous in Princeton history is John A. “Spider” Kelly. Before his time as a coach, he was a prominent boxer and taught the principles of boxing to troops during World War I. He was a boxing instructor at Princeton University from 1902 to 1936. After being a member of the Princeton Association of Coaches for twenty-four years, he became a life member of the Princeton Varsity Club in 1926 – despite never being a college undergraduate. In 1937, at 65 years old, he passed away from a cerebral hemorrhage caused by a blow to the head received while boxing with a student two months prior. After his death, the Princeton Alumni Weekly described Kelly as the “grand old man of Princeton boxing” (“Slide show: The Roaring 20s”).
John A. "Spider" Kelly boxing while attending Princeton University.
Image Source: 1927 Bric-A-Brac, Princeton University’s Yearbook. https://paw.princeton.edu/article/slide-show-roaring-20s
"Mistrust all frank and simple people"
The irony in this line stems from Jake’s profession as a newspaper reporter. Reporting during the early twentieth century was expected to be simplistic and concise. Indeed, after his schooling, Hemingway worked for the Kanas City Star where he learned “the economy of expression” (Xie 157). Hemingway “laid stress on ‘speaking’ with facts and objected groundless concoction in writing,” leading to the frank, regimented style so often ascribed to him. Reporters were expected to supply the facts in simplistic terms; ironically, Jake, a news reporter himself, distrusts the very characteristics which marks his career.
Breaking the "bad with money" stereotype
According to Thomas C. Wilson, there are two categories for Jewish stereotypes: “malevolent and clearly anti-Semitic [and those which are] ostensibly benign.” Of the stereotypes in the malevolent group, Wilson cites attributes such as “overbearing, sloppy, loud, money-loving, and uncouth” (465) as being ascribed to the Jewish community. Jake notes how Cohn “lost most of the fifty thousand dollars his father left him” during his first five years of marriage to his first wife. The loss of his father’s money runs contrary to the malevolent stereotype ascribed to the Jewish community.
Paris & Writers' Circles
"It was his money and he discovered he liked the authority of editing."
Cohn is an aspiring novelist but was also an editor on an advisory board for a literary magazine. Cohn enjoys the power he has when editing or reviewing a piece of literature. This observation made by Jake is juxtaposed with a description of Frances, his older mistress. Jake notes that Frances is “very forceful” in their relationship. Hemingway’s collocation suggests Cohn only feels autonomous through his literary pursuits and other avenues of his life are deterred by Frances’ intervention and control.
Frances, while being controlling, does see the money that Cohn is making through the magazine and “urged that they go to Europe, where Cohn could write.” This passage echoes autobiographical aspects of Hemingway’s own life. Cohn and Frances travelled around Europe for a year and settled in Paris for another two years with the Braddocks and Jake, his “literary friends.” On December 22, 1921, Hemingway moved to Paris with his first wife, Hadley Richardson. Hemingway supported the family by news reports, specifically on the Geneva Conference. While in Paris, Hemingway fell in with the “Lost Generation,” a literary group including Sherwood Anderson, Gertrude Stein, T.S. Eliot, James Joyce, among others. Hemingway and Hadley became pregnant and left Paris in 1923 to have their first child, Jack “Bumby” Hemingway in North America.
Strasbourg is a city in the East of France, in the Alsace region, which was a contested territory during the Franco Prussian War (1870-1). A river runs through the city, and it is known for its medieval cathedral and charming channels. It lies 2.5 miles west of the Rhine, and is near the border of Germany.
A waterway in Strasbourg
Image Source: “Strasbourg,” Brittanica.com
A city in the Flemish Region of Brussels, most well known for its medieval cathedral and belfry. It is a popular tourist destination, and is a canal based city, like Amsterdam. It was briefly occupied in WWI.
A region is Southeastern Belgium that stretches into Luxembourg, Germany and France. It is dense with forests, and was the site of a major battle in WW1, Aug 1914, Battle of Ardennes.
For more on that, see: https://www.firstworldwar.com/battles/ardennes.htm
It is perhaps worth noting that Jake reverts to this suggestion (a quiet town in Northern France) after Cohen has rejected his other suggestions. Strasbourg turned out to be a minefield, which then prompted Jake to suggest places that would be associated with the recent war. Like many of Jake’s other suggestions, Senlis is known for its medieval architecture, but it has no association with the late conflict with Germany.
From context, it would seem that this is the name of a hotel. There is a grand hotel in Lyons-la-Foret that bears this name, some 113 km from Senlis, so perhaps this is the same place. We were unable to find information on how long the hotel has been in operation. Or it may be named for a historic hotel in the region to which Hemingway was referring. (https://www.grandcerf.fr/en/)
The medieval architecture of Senlis.
Image Source: Travel Blogger Solo Sophie,
Chapter 2 Annotations
Purple Land (South America)
This allusion references William Henry Hudson’s first novel, The Purple Land that England Lost: Travels and Adventures in the Banda Oriental, South America, published in 1885. While the novel was partly inspired by Hudson’s visit to the Banda Oriental (now known as Uruguay), it is fundamentally a fictional novel that narrates the imaginary journey to South America (Landau 27). Not only were the protagonist’s “amorous adventures” imaginary, but so too was Hemingway’s travel account of the region (8). In the novel, the traveler slowly integrates into the country’s culture because of his travel experience, no longer being an “alienated foreigner” (Landau 28). Aaron Landau contends, “while embodying many of the racial, cultural and political stereotypes prevalent in metropolitan travel writing about South America, the novel in effect calls these stereotypes into question one by one” (28-29). Some of these ideas are exemplified in Hemingway’s novel, as we slowly learn about French culture from Hemingway’s perspective, while also encountering stereotypes along the way.
RG Dun Report
R.G. Dun & Company was one of the first commercial reporting agencies in the United States. The firm largely impacted the industry of credit reporting, becoming integral to American commerce’s development. The R.G. Dun & Company credit reports volumes concern individuals and firms from the United States, Canada, and some foreign countries, dating from the 1840s to the 1890s. The reports include information on business’ duration, net worth, and sources of wealth.
Horatio Alger, an American author famous for young adult rags-to-riches stories, most notably wrote Ragged Dick in 1868 (Miner 233; Hildegard 190-191). In this novel, a poor shoe shiner rises to middle class respectability through honesty and virtue. Alger provides both empirical and moral lessons through his novels (Miner 233). Hence, Ragged Dick could be one of “the more practical Alger books” Hemingway refers to (8).
William Henry Hudson was a British author and naturalist famous for writing exotic romances, including The Purple Land (1885) and Green Mansions (1904) (Britannica). These two novels focus on comprehensive, fictional accounts of South American nature, emphasizing acceptance of nature in its entirety and establishing “a sense of place and nature in it” (Britannica; Trudgill 311). Eventually, they would foster the back-to-nature movement of the 1920s and 1930s (Trudgill 311).
British East Africa
British imperialism’s connection with the slave trade in East Africa in the nineteenth century resulted in the colonization of several territories, collectively known as British East Africa (Wolff 443). These territories included Kenya, Uganda, and Zanzibar and Tanganyika, beginning with the British seizing control of what is now known as Kenya in 1888 (Britannica). All these territories became politically independent in the 1960s, and Zanzibar and Tanganyika united to form Tanzania in 1964 (Britannica).
"Hard, stubborn Jewish streak"
From Mosaic times, the Jewish people were regarded as “stubborn.” According to the Anti-Defamation League, after Abraham led his family to Canaan, “the Hebrews (the early Jewish people) experienced intermittent persecution because they refused to worship the idols of local rulers, which was the custom at the time. This refusal to worship idols was seen as stubborn [emphasis added] and was resented” (12).
While the Jewish intransigence was first seen as noble (resisting polytheism from neighboring tribes) over time, their resistance was negatively mutated into “stubbornness.” According to Bernard Glassman, the negative Jewish stubbornness stereotype was exemplified during the Renaissance times: “Miles Coversale [an English ecclesiastical reformer and Bible translator] (1488?-1569) pointed out in one of his sermons how at the time of the Crucifixion the earth quaked, rocks split, and the veil of the temple was torn, and yet the jews, being blind and stubborn [emphasis added], would not accept Jesus” (62).
The Latin Quarter
Oldest district in Paris
Built over 2000 years ago.
Found in the 5th and 6th arrondissements of Paris
Area is known for it historical buildings, giving an image of ancient Paris
Contains many of the most famous buildings and landmark in Paris:
Arènes de Lutèce
Oldest university in France; founded in 1257.
"Asked to see my papers"
Such identification eerily foreshadows the Nazi’s identification process, the Kennkarte. According to the Museum of Jewish Heritage- A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, the Kennkarte were “identification cards issued by the Third Reich.” After an executive order signed on August 17, 1938, Jewish citizens living in Nazi-conquered territories had to “add Israel or Sara to their names if their first names weren’t on a list created by the Third Reich of state-approved names for Jews.” The Gestapo (short for Geheime Staatspolizei, German for “Secret State Police”) stopped Jewish citizens at certain checkpoints within the territory and used the Kennkarte as a means of control over the Jewish population.
Hemingway’s specific diction, while written before the Nazi invasions, mirrors the rhetoric used in the 1942 film Casablanca. The film’s famous phrase “Your papers, please” became a cinematic trope, which, according to Margaret Hu, morphed into a “a symbol of corrupt, unchecked unilateral power.” Cohn, a Jew, walks home alone one night when he is stopped by a bicycle cop who specifically asks for “his papers.” While the text was published in 1926, 13 years before Hitler invaded Poland, starting World War 2, such rhetoric mimics language used by the Nazi party during their reign.
(noun) Carbon copies of typewritten pages
Gare St. Lazare
One of the six mainline railway stations in Paris
Built by Juste Lisch
First opened on August 24, 1837, by Marie-Amelie (Wife of Louis-Phillipe of France)
Handles 275,000 passengers per day
"Bedrooms scenes of my friends"
Such language reflects Jake’s impotence and unrequited love for Brett. His feelings, while powerful, are ultimately unattainable due to Brett’s refusal for a sexually abstinent lifestyle.
An alcoholic beverage consumed before having a meal