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Tropic of Cancer | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • 1928

    Mona and Henry visit Paris; Mona goes back to America, leaving Henry there.

    Chapter 1
  • 1930

    Henry and Boris live together at Villa Borghese and write The Last Book.

    Chapter 2
  • Sunday

    Henry wanders Paris hungry and remembers his favorite prostitute, Germaine.

    Chapter 3
  • Easter

    Henry and Carl rescue Marlowe after he has a drunken attack.

    Chapter 4
  • Next week

    Henry meets Serge, tries to live at Serge's house, then escapes.

    Chapter 6
  • Days later

    Henry works for Nanantatee; he takes a young Indian man to a brothel, and trouble ensues.

    Chapter 7
  • Soon after

    Henry describes his friend Van Norden's mechanical sex addiction; Henry misses Mona.

    Chapter 8
  • Months later

    Henry gets a letter from Boris and feels despondent about Mona and death.

    Chapter 9
  • Soon after

    Henry loses his job, moves in with Kruger, becomes ill, and is cared for by Collins and Fillmore.

    Chapter 10
  • Later

    Henry gives one woman money freely, then steals money from a prostitute he thinks has tricked him.

    Chapter 11
  • End of summer

    Henry moves in with Fillmore, and Princess Macha joins them.

    Chapter 12
  • Late fall

    An encounter with a prostitute causes Henry to try to find joy in the face of a world collapsing.

    Chapter 13
  • After Christmas

    Henry hates life in Dijon, where he has taken a teaching job.

    Chapter 14
  • Spring 1931

    Henry returns to Paris, saves Fillmore from Ginette, and finds peace.

    Chapter 15

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Chapter 1 Henry Miller, an American, lives in Paris. Abandoned by his wife Mona, who has returned to the United States, Henry susp... Read More
Chapter 2 Boris hires Elsa to be a maid and cook for him and for Henry Miller, telling Henry not to seduce her. Henry does the opp... Read More
Chapter 3 Henry Miller goes to Cronstadt's because Boris won't invite him to eat lunch. Boris says he can't afford to pay for Henr... Read More
Chapter 4 Henry Miller walks along the Champs-Elysées and thinks the city is like a piece of music. He hasn't written in days, but... Read More
Chapter 5 Henry Miller describes dinner with Sylvester and Tania. It is likely the last time because he has slept with the wives o... Read More
Chapter 6 After mulling over an Emerson quote about life consisting "of what a man thinks all day," Henry Miller decides he would ... Read More
Chapter 7 In America, before he moves to Paris, Henry Miller makes friends with "Hindus," meaning people from India. Nanantatee, a... Read More
Chapter 8 As previously agreed, Henry Miller calls on his friend Van Norden, who wakes up hating himself and his life, and complai... Read More
Chapter 9 Henry Miller receives a strange, almost nonsensical letter from his friend Boris, whom he has not seen for several month... Read More
Chapter 10 Henry Miller loses his job in a layoff and has to figure out how to feed himself. Carl and Van Norden, who still have jo... Read More
Chapter 11 Chapter 11 opens with Henry Miller saying, "Paris is like a whore"; it looks wonderful and tantalizing from afar, "until... Read More
Chapter 12 Fillmore and Henry Miller have become good friends, and when Fillmore's girlfriend Jackie moves out, he invites Henry to... Read More
Chapter 13 Macha has left to stay with a castrated sculptor because Fillmore's apartment is too cold, so the two men are alone agai... Read More
Chapter 14 Henry Miller prepares to become an exchange professor of English at a school in Dijon. The unpaid position provides Henr... Read More
Chapter 15 In the spring, after spending a brutal winter teaching English in Dijon, fortune smiles again on Henry Miller. His frien... Read More
Cite This Study Guide

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