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Giovanni's Room

Giovanni's Room


by James Baldwin

Hella Timeline and Summary

  • We learn that at one point David and Hella were engaged, but now she is on a boat back to America.
  • When David's caretaker asks about Hella, he admits that she has left him. The caretaker never liked Hella anyway.
  • The only rift between Giovanni and David comes when Giovanni brings up Hella. David says that if Hella were in Paris, he would not be living with Giovanni. Giovanni cannot understand what she is doing in Spain anyway.
  • David goes to the post office and receives a letter from Hella, announcing that she has accepted his proposal and will return form Spain shortly. David is relieved.
  • Hella arrives and David goes to pick her up without telling Giovanni.
  • At first the two of them are shy. Hella re-affirms her acceptance of David's proposal of marriage.
  • She begins to discuss what it is like to be a woman and how unfortunate it is that a woman must, by necessity, be attached to a man. David thinks she is funny and does not understand her.
  • Hella meets Giovanni by accident in a bookstore. She is not suspicious, but thinks that he is beautiful and very intense. It is clear to her that he worships David.
  • After David leaves Giovanni, things go fairly well between him and Hella. Yet, he thinks that there is a melancholy air, and that she senses he is clinging to her a bit too desperately.
  • He tells her that he wants to leave Paris, and she tells him that she will follow him wherever he wants to go.
  • David is tormented by guilt after Giovanni's conviction. Hella sympathizes with him, but cannot understand why he is so upset.
  • David tries to escape by loving Hella furiously. She knows something is wrong, but cannot put her finger on it.
  • David and Hella move to the south. They continue to fight and bicker. She thinks that David is shutting her out, and begs him not to do so. David leaves and finds a sailor to sleep with. When she discovers them, she looks very tired and haggard and thinks that she has known for a long time.
  • Hella packs her bags and leaves David. He begs her for forgiveness and says that he was just lying to himself, but she has no patience for it. She wonders what the point of living is if one cannot be happy, and says that every man she meets will make her think of David.
  • When she rides away in her taxi, David waves to her but she does not wave back.