Thursday, May 12, 2011

More Questions for The Paris Wife

I'm about halfway through The Paris Wife.  How about you?  I know some of you haven't started, while others are done!  I will say, at first I had a hard time getting into the novel, but I am fully engaged in the story of Hadley and Ernest, and will probably finish it by the end of the weekend.

Here's a few more questions to ponder courtesy of The Princeton Book Review:

4. The Hemingways spontaneously opt for Paris over Rome when they get key advice from Sherwood Anderson. What was life like for them when they first arrived? How did Hadley's initial feelings about Paris differ from Ernest's and why?

5. Throughout THE PARIS WIFE, Hadley refers to herself as "Victorian" as opposed to "modern." What are some of the ways she doesn't feel like she fits into life in bohemian Paris? How does this impact her relationship with Ernest? Her self-esteem? What are some of the ways Hadley's "old-fashioned" quality can be seen as a strength and not a weakness?

6. Hadley and Ernest's marriage survived for many years in Jazz-Age Paris, an environment that had very little patience for monogamy and other traditional values. What in their relationship seems to sustain them? How does their marriage differ from those around them? Pound's and Shakespeare's? Scott and Zelda's?

I think it's interesting to see Paris after World War 1, and before World War 2.  I do like Hadley, but I find myself feeling a bit frustrated for her.  I can't say I would put up with such a moody husband.  And I am astounded at the amount of time and frustration Ernest spends on his writing.  To know that he does become a famous novelist, but seeing him before that happens is fascinating.

What are your thoughts?


My Grama's Soul said...

I have finished reading this book...I did enjoy it. Let me see to answer a few of your questions. Hadley was old fashioned in her appearance, her dress and her moral disposition. She felt she didn't quite fit in the the "modern" girl. Although, Ernest, continually encourages her not to change a wit....he does go on to strongly admire the more modern woman. I believe he NEEDS Hadley's stability to balance his moodiness and instability.

Hadley was not nearly as excited about living in Paris as Ernest was....she felt threatened....while he was nothing short of exhilarated!!


Anonymous said...

I have finished and have to say that I alternated between frustration and sometimes anger at Hadley and then compassion. I can understand the romanticism to Ernest's angst over his writing at first but once married, moved away from all Hadley has known and especially once the baby comes it is all so selfish! I found myself so incredibly angry at Ernest for his treatment of Hadley and his affair and at Hadley for allowing such behavior and never standing up for herself. I guess it is hard for me to remember how different gender roles were for women back then but I struggled through reading their marriage woes.

I have to give the questions a bit more thought but wanted to concur that I too had a lot of frustration over their relationship dynamics.

ms. caboo said...

Yes Jewels, I am also frustrated at the relationship. I keep wanting to shake Hadley. I don't think I could put up with living in a dump and sitting at home all day while my husband tries to find the perfect sentence. It is maddening to me!

My Grama's Soul said...

Hi Miss Caboo....In answer to your first question....Ernest LOVED Paris....Hadley did not. She was the more conservative and backward of the two.

Her hairstyle and clothing were of another time...she did not feel she fit in at all.

One of the reasons I feel their marriage survived was because Ernest needed someone to boost his ego and adore him and Hadley did just that until the new woman entered into the picture.

I believe Hadley was a fool for staying in this relationship so long...but at least she was able to obtain financial stability from the royalties Ernest gave her after "The Sun Also Rises" was published.


Giller Girl said...

The 3 authors of "Reading Between the Wines...story of a traveling book club".... loved The Paris Wife and are reviewing it to night @ their book club!