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Tropic of Cancer

Tropic of Cancer


by Henry Miller

Tropic of Cancer Chapter 2 Summary

  • Life with Boris is good, but the poor guy is desperately afraid that his wife is going to show up and give him a hard time.
  • The cleaning lady, Elsa, likes to lecture the narrator about prostitutes and syphilis. This one's a real bummer. The narrator tells us: "Everywhere a man, and then she has to leave, and then there's an abortion and then a new job and then another man and nobody gives a fuck about her except to use her" (2.9). Hmmm.
  • The narrator is really fed up with all of the Germans in his neighborhood.
  • He's excited about his book, though, even though he's convinced that the world is dying.
  • He lapses into some memories of Tania and Sylvester, and other memories continue to float by as the narrator makes way for potential tenants to the apartment. One beautiful hot mess drops by, but she just reminds him of all of the other "Rich American cunts […]" (2.27). Miller really isn't a fan of political correctness, it seems.
  • The narrator remembers the day Moldorf made a pass at Tania. Never mind that he's married to Fanny.
  • He started flapping his gums about how smart and perfect Fanny is and how she's a Zionist and can make miracles with a hat and a ribbon, la de dah.
  • The narrator imagines the absurdity of Moldorf's reunion with his wife, with her "Breasts like ripe red cabbage" (2.38). It's not a pretty picture.

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