Study Guide

The Red and the Black Part 1, Chapter 22

By Stendhal (Marie-Henri Beyle)

Part 1, Chapter 22

Patterns of Behavior, in 1830

  • Julien reaches Verrières on his two-week vacation. The first thing he does is visit Father Chélan and build him some bookshelves.
  • On his third day of vacation, Julien gets a visit from a guy named Monsieur de Maugiron who wants to lure Julien away from the de Rênals so he can teach de Maugiron's children.
  • Julien is surprised at one point by an invitation to lunch with Monsieur Valenod. Julien would rather beat the man with a stick than lunch with him. But he goes anyway.
  • A bunch of city officials come to lunch, too. They yell for some nearby poor people to shut up and stop singing before settling into their luxurious meals. Julien is understandably disgusted by their upper class behavior.
  • The crowd asks Julien to demonstrates his knowledge of the Bible. He repeats his old performance of reciting from memory any passage the guests start reading. They're all super impressed, which only makes Julien more resentful of them.
  • When he's had enough, he gets up and excuses himself from lunch. He knows that one day, he'll explode and tell these kinds of people what he really thinks of them.
  • Nonetheless, he goes to lots of parties and makes nice with the upper crust of Verrières because Madame de Rênal has told him this is a smart thing to do.
  • One day, he wakes up with a pair of hands covering his eyes. It's Madame de Rênal, who is visiting him with her children.
  • While the group lunches, Monsieur de Rênal walks in with a gloomy face. He feels like his children are starting to like Julien more than him. Then he leaves to attend some business meetings.
  • The chapter closes by mentioning Monsieur de Rênal's insecurity about his reputation as a cheapskate. Mr. Valenod, on the other hand, is famous for giving a lot of money to charity.