Down and Out in Paris and London Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Describe the ghetto where the narrator lives.

The setting is a ghetto-like neighborhood in Paris in the early twentieth century. The inhabitants are students, rag pickers, prostitutes, bricklayers, and stonemasons.

2. Describe the story Charlie tells in the second chapter?

Charlie tells of how he stole 1000 francs from his brother and then used the 1000 francs on a prostitute. The prostitute was young and frightened, probably the daughter of a poor country farmer. Charlie raped her.

3. How is poverty affecting the narrator's life?

He is living on six francs a day and has to stop sending out his laundry. He must ration his tobacco and watch how much he eats. He tries to keep up appearances, but it's very difficult. Not wanting to explain why he's cutting back on expenses, he only manages to offend people.

4. How does the narrator get money in chapter 4?

He packs up the remainder of his clothes and takes them to a pawnshop. He expects to get 250 to 300 francs for the whole bundle and is shocked then when he's offered 70 francs.

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