A Moveable Feast Question #2 ~ Chapter 1

by Ernest Hemingway

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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A Moveable Feast Question #2 ~ Chapter 1

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Oct 14, 2008 7:52 am

How does Chapter 1 set the tone for the book? Did it make you want to keep reading? Why or why not?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!

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Re: A Moveable Feast Question #2 ~ Chapter 1

Unread postby gemini » Tue Oct 14, 2008 12:53 pm

I am embarrassed to say I read AMF from a library loan book and now I don't have it to refer back to refresh my memory on how it started. Maybe someone else's answer will make me recall.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

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Re: A Moveable Feast Question #2 ~ Chapter 1

Unread postby IngridN » Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:51 pm

I visited a lot of counties and cities around the world a.o Sydney, London, Singapore, Moscow, Hongkong, Rome but I still haven’t been to Paris yet, which is strange because it really is not that far from Amsterdam. :blush:

In 1998 my mum visited Paris though . She went to Paris with a friend and she gave me a detailed description.
The clochards, the streets, shops and cafes, the food the smells....and the way she described it made me feel like I was there too.
Last year my mum died of Alzheimer’s disease and when I was reading the first chapter of AMF it made me think of the way she described her visit. It made me happy and it made me sad, and yes, I wanted to read more and I was not disappointed.
"We are always the same age inside." Gertrude Stein

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Re: A Moveable Feast Question #2 ~ Chapter 1

Unread postby Parlez » Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:07 pm

Hemingway had me at hello! :lol:
Well, not at 'hello' exactly, but at the first line:
Then there was the bad weather.
The use of the word 'Then' made me feel like he and I had been having an ongoing correspondence for a long time and he was taking up the conversation where we last left off. I've never read an opening line that so engaged me. I thought it was brilliant. And it put me right there, not only in time but in immediacy; like I was right there with my buddy, Ernest - a fresh, young, poor but hopeful newcomer to Paris, trying to juggle his varying impressions of the scene and make his way and take his place there. Like I said before, there's an innocence in AMF that drew me in right away.
Last edited by Parlez on Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Moveable Feast Question #2 ~ Chapter 1

Unread postby Liz » Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:12 pm

IngridN wrote:I visited a lot of counties and cities around the world a.o Sydney, London, Singapore, Moscow, Hongkong, Rome but I still haven’t been to Paris yet, which is strange because it really is not that far from Amsterdam. :blush:

In 1998 my mum visited Paris though . She went to Paris with a friend and she gave me a detailed description.
The clochards, the streets, shops and cafes, the food the smells....and the way she described it made me feel like I was there too.
Last year my mum died of Alzheimer’s disease and when I was reading the first chapter of AMF it made me think of the way she described her visit. It made me happy and it made me sad, and yes, I wanted to read more and I was not disappointed.

My condolences, IngridN. :-/ My MIL has Alzheimer’s. It is such an awful disease. I am glad that AMF allowed you to experience the emotions of it.

Gemini, don’t be embarrassed. After re-reading the chapter just now, I still can’t remember what I thought as I was reading through it the first time. I imagine it was an encouragement to read further because I love his descriptions of Paris in this chapter. He made me feel as if I was right there with him.

A quick synopsis: He sets the scene—he’s sitting in the Café des Amateurs, finishing a story. He describes the café, the rue Mouffetard, Place Contrescarpe and tells us where he lives and writes and where he came from (Toronto) and that he is married to Hadley.
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Re: A Moveable Feast Question #2 ~ Chapter 1

Unread postby nebraska » Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:20 pm

I had to get my book out and read the chapter again to see what it was about. It really has some vivid descriptions and the prose flows beautifully. It is easy to read, pleasant just for the way the words are strung together. With the rain and the cold there is a lot of darkness to the scenery. I am not sure if it set the tone of the book or not, but Hem does seem always aware of the darkness that lingers around the edge of life.

Parlez, I like what you said about the way he begins the story. There is no fooling around, he just jumps right in and takes us with him.

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Re: A Moveable Feast Question #2 ~ Chapter 1

Unread postby suec » Tue Oct 14, 2008 5:26 pm

I thought it had an elegiac quality to it, as well assome of the under-belly, although it ends more positively. The cold, rain and the fall; the drunkards, the evilly run cafe and the cesspools. The sadness of the city and the poverty, of having to think about lighting a fire. But then the pleasant cafe, warm and clean and friendly. And the girl who is gone - but captured nonetheless. And Hem himself both sad and happy. So I think it sets the tone very well. And yes, it drew me in very effectively too. I liked the ending of the chpater especially in its tone.
"Luck... inspiration... both only really happen to you when you empty your heart of ambition, purpose, and plan; when you give yourself, completely, to the golden, fate-filled moment."

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Re: A Moveable Feast Question #2 ~ Chapter 1

Unread postby gemini » Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:23 pm

Yes, thanks ladies for refreshing my memory. One word comes to mind- "nostalgic". I do think he set the tone for the book because he is sitting in a cafe writing and that was the routine of his daily life during that time. The beauty of Paris is what makes me think nostalgic. It is not only the place and the time but recalling your youth to retell the story.
Parlez said
Like I said before, there's an innocence in AMF that drew me in right away.

I agree and I felt that too in reading the book. It is something about how he describes his life with Hadley as young and in love as a comparison to his friends who seemed to have problems. Even though they were poor, it seemed like a great place in time to be. Its as though he is looking back at when he was young and innocent before his life changed.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers



Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

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Re: A Moveable Feast Question #2 ~ Chapter 1

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Oct 14, 2008 7:04 pm

I was trying to remember why I wrote this question after I finished the chapter. :lol: I had the impression like Parlez, that he was writing to the reader as he would a friend. His descriptions of the city made me feel like I was there and the opposing sides of what he saw, from dark and cold to warm and inviting I found very intriguing. I wanted to know more. gemini, nostalgic is a good word.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Re: A Moveable Feast Question #2 ~ Chapter 1

Unread postby fansmom » Tue Oct 14, 2008 8:39 pm

Parlez wrote:Hemingway had me at hello! :lol:
Well, not at 'hello' exactly, but at the first line:
Then there was the bad weather.
The use of the word 'Then' made me feel like he and I had been having an ongoing correspondence for a long time and he was taking up the conversation where we last left off. I've never read an opening line that so engaged me. I thought it was brilliant. And it put me right there, not only in time but in immediacy; like I was right there with my buddy, Ernest - a fresh, young, poor but hopeful newcomer to Paris, trying to juggle his varying impressions of the scene and make his way and take his place there. Like I said before, there's an innocence in AMF that drew me in right away.
I loved that "Then," too, Parlez. It reminded me of one of my favorite songs, which starts with the word "Now" being sung on a very squashed chord and always makes me feel like I have to get moving. No time to pause, we've got to get going.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the first chapter, and the tone definitely made me want to keep reading. I haven't read much Hemingway (because of what I perceive as hyper-masculinity) but this seemed very intimate and immediate in comparison with what I've read.

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Re: A Moveable Feast Question #2 ~ Chapter 1

Unread postby Kate_with_a_K » Thu Oct 16, 2008 1:04 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:I was trying to remember why I wrote this question after I finished the chapter. :lol: I had the impression like Parlez, that he was writing to the reader as he would a friend. His descriptions of the city made me feel like I was there and the opposing sides of what he saw, from dark and cold to warm and inviting I found very intriguing. I wanted to know more. gemini, nostalgic is a good word.


I think that's a great way to describe his writing, DITHOT. There is a quality of his prose that really drew me in; made me want to know more; actually made me make a list of potential tidbits. :lol:

He made me feel as if I were there; he confirmed my impressions of Paris that I had from someone who lived there for several years; and, the thing I didn't realize at the time, he truly was writing to the reader as he would a friend. I've found quite a bit in the book as a whole that sort of suggests that I should know more about what EH is talking about. But I suspect that's a topic for another day.
"I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers." - The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

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Re: A Moveable Feast Question #2 ~ Chapter 1

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Oct 16, 2008 7:02 pm

Kate, I hope we didn't miss any potential tidbits or any potential topics! If there is something we haven't discussed by the end of our tour, please bring it up after the last question. :cool:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Re: A Moveable Feast Question #2 ~ Chapter 1

Unread postby Inthezone » Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:43 pm

At first I thought it was going to be terribly depressing - all that narrative about overflowing lavatories, rummies and rain. :-?
With fortune, I got a lost in his descriptions and then after I became enchanted, remembered that I was reading non-fiction. I am fond of "fictionalized, non-fiction." It makes it easier for me to read about the historical events I want to learn about, while not falling asleep with the book on my face. (Not with this book though. Of course!)
"For certain you must be lost to find the place what can't be found. Elseways everyone would know where it was." ~ Hector Barbossa

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Re: A Moveable Feast Question #2 ~ Chapter 1

Unread postby Liz » Fri Oct 24, 2008 12:06 am

Inthezone wrote: I am fond of "fictionalized, non-fiction." It makes it easier for me to read about the historical events I want to learn about, while not falling asleep with the book on my face. (Not with this book though. Of course!)

Same here.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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