Down and Out in Paris and London - Chapter 1 Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 1 Summary

The first-person, unnamed narrator sets the scene for readers in chapter one by describing common scenes in his neighborhood. The landlady yells at a tenant to stop squashing bugs on the wallpaper, and an argument erupts, which continues for ten minutes and stops abruptly when the cavalry rides by.

The setting is a ghetto-like neighborhood in Paris in the early twentieth century. The inhabitants are students, rag pickers, prostitutes, bricklayers, and stonemasons. One couple sells packets of concealed postcards, telling customers they are pornographic, when in reality they are just regular landscape postcards. The customers are disappointed when they later find out the postcards are not pornographic, but they never return to the sellers to protest because of their shame. Respectability goes out the window when people are hungry.

Chapter 1 Analysis

Orwell's descriptions are reminiscent of those in Victor Hugo's Les Miserables but with a modern twist...

(read more from the Chapter 1 Summary)

This section contains 228 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the Down and Out in Paris and London Study Guide
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