Study Guide

The Red and the Black Part 1, Chapter 2

By Stendhal (Marie-Henri Beyle)

Part 1, Chapter 2

A Mayor

  • We're not done with Monsieur de Rênal yet. Now the narrator tells us about a retaining wall that the mayor had built in order to make sure one of the town's public paths gives a nice view of the countryside.
  • We're starting to wonder when this book's plot is going to get going.
  • Sometimes, people complain about the way the mayor has all the town trees shaved down, but he argues that they should look pretty and give shade, especially since they bring in no money.
  • And here, the narrator tells us that one major problem with Verrières is that its inhabitants tend to measure the value of everything with money.
  • While walking along one day, Monsieur de Rênal talks to his wife about how unhappy he is with certain people in the community criticizing him. He especially has a hate-on for one of the local priests.