A Moveable Feast

Hair Symbol Icon

Hemingway rarely describes a character without mentioning their hair, and thus his descriptions of hair serve as a way of bringing the social world of the book to life in a visceral, vibrant way. Characters’ hair often reflects their personalities: for example, Gertrude Stein has “lovely thick, alive immigrant hair,” while Scott has “very fair wavy hair,” which reflects his charming and rather delicate nature. In the chapter entitled “Secret Pleasures,” Hemingway describes his and Hadley’s mission to grow their hair to the same length and cut it into the same style. They find a surprising amount of delight in this project, which is one of the “secret pleasures” that colors their happy, carefree life together. It is clear that Hemingway and Hadley enjoy rejecting the social conventions of how men and women were supposed to look at the time, and their joint hairstyle is thus an expression of their creative, bohemian attitude to life. At the same time, the hotel keeper in Austria suggests that having long hair is a “revolt” against the legacy of the First World War (which forced young men to have short hair as a result of their service in the military). Although hair may at first seem like a rather superficial topic, in reality it has several serious and important layers of meaning.

Hair Quotes in A Moveable Feast

The A Moveable Feast quotes below all refer to the symbol of Hair. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Creation vs. Critique Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scribner edition of A Moveable Feast published in 2010.
Chapter 11 Quotes

Ezra Pound was always a good friend and he was always doing things for people. The studio where he lived with his wife Dorothy on the rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs was as poor as Gertrude Stein's studio was rich. It had very good light and was heated by a stove and it had paintings by Japanese artists that Ezra knew. They were all noblemen where they came from and wore their hair cut long. Their hair glistened black and swung forward when they bowed and I was very impressed by them but I did not like their paintings. I did not understand them but they did not have any mystery, and when I understood them they meant nothing to me. I was sorry about this but there was nothing I could do about it.

Related Characters: Ernest Hemingway (speaker), Gertude Stein, Ezra Pound, Dorothy Pound
Related Symbols: Hair
Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:
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Hair Symbol Timeline in A Moveable Feast

The timeline below shows where the symbol Hair appears in A Moveable Feast. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: Miss Stein Instructs
Creation vs. Critique Theme Icon
Success, Gossip, and Fame Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
...Stein looks like an Italian peasant woman and that she has “lovely, thick, alive immigrant hair.” He adds that she talks a lot, particularly about “people and places.” Her partner Alice... (full context)
Chapter 3: Shakespeare and Company
Hunger vs. Consumption Theme Icon
Success, Gossip, and Fame Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Happiness and Sadness Theme Icon
...warm, cheerful place” with pictures of famous writers on the walls. Sylvia has thick brown hair and “pretty legs”; Hemingway adds that she is kinder to him than anyone else he... (full context)
Chapter 11: Ezra Pound and the Measuring Worm
Creation vs. Critique Theme Icon
Success, Gossip, and Fame Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
...He notes that Ezra’s studio is filled with paintings by Japanese artists who wear their hair long. Hemingway is fascinated by the men’s hair, although he admits that he unfortunately can’t... (full context)
Chapter 13: The Man Who Was Marked for Death
Creation vs. Critique Theme Icon
Success, Gossip, and Fame Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Hemingway meets the poet Ernest Walsh at Ezra Pound’s studio. Walsh is accompanied by two blond-haired girls “in long mink coats.” Walsh is “dark,” “intense,” and “clearly marked for death.” One... (full context)
Creation vs. Critique Theme Icon
Hunger vs. Consumption Theme Icon
Success, Gossip, and Fame Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Happiness and Sadness Theme Icon
...cannot remember when Walsh died but he remembers telling Joyce the story about the two blond-haired girls, which made Joyce “very happy.” (full context)
Chapter 14: Evan Shipman at the Lilas
Creation vs. Critique Theme Icon
Hunger vs. Consumption Theme Icon
Success, Gossip, and Fame Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Happiness and Sadness Theme Icon
...wears a “worn and wrinkled grey suit” and his fingers are “stained darker than his hair.” Hemingway asks Evan how he is, and Evan admits that he is “a little down.”... (full context)
Chapter 16: Winter in Shrums
Creation vs. Critique Theme Icon
Hunger vs. Consumption Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Happiness and Sadness Theme Icon
...beautiful inn” with an ornately decorated drinking room. Bumby is looked after by a “beautiful dark-haired girl” while Hemingway and Hadley explore. They enroll in the ski school of Herr Walther... (full context)
Hunger vs. Consumption Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Happiness and Sadness Theme Icon
Hemingway grows his hair and beard long during these winters, and Herr Lent tells him that the local peasants... (full context)
Chapter 17: Scott Fitzgerald
Creation vs. Critique Theme Icon
Hunger vs. Consumption Theme Icon
Success, Gossip, and Fame Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Happiness and Sadness Theme Icon
...the famous pitcher Dunc Chaplin. Scott has an attractive, boyish face, with “very fair wavy hair” and “excited eyes.” Hemingway is intrigued to finally meet Scott, but embarrassed when Scott starts... (full context)
Chapter 18: Hawks Do Not Share
Creation vs. Critique Theme Icon
Hunger vs. Consumption Theme Icon
Success, Gossip, and Fame Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Happiness and Sadness Theme Icon
...Zelda fought because he didn’t want to keep drinking. Hemingway notes that Zelda’s “dark blonde hair had been ruined temporarily” by a bad dye job. Although she makes an effort to... (full context)
Creation vs. Critique Theme Icon
Hunger vs. Consumption Theme Icon
Success, Gossip, and Fame Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Happiness and Sadness Theme Icon
...is an excellent place to write. Zelda looks beautiful when she is tanned, and her hair turns dark gold. Hemingway concludes that Scott wasn’t able to write anything else until he... (full context)
Paris Sketches: Secret Pleasures
Success, Gossip, and Fame Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Happiness and Sadness Theme Icon
...journalist, it is important that he has a “presentable suit,” “respectable shoes,” and a regular haircut. This becomes a “liability” because it allows him to go to the right bank to... (full context)
Hunger vs. Consumption Theme Icon
Success, Gossip, and Fame Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Happiness and Sadness Theme Icon
...are “free people in Paris.” Hemingway declares that he is “never going to get a haircut” and he and Hadley order wine to celebrate. Hadley admits that it will take a... (full context)
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
...The hotel keeper tells them that he remembers a time when “all men wore their hair long” and that he is “very pleased that Paris was again returning to this style.”... (full context)