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What is the difference between Hemingway's third person point of view used in "Hills...

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shahrzadshirin | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted July 19, 2011 at 9:52 PM via web

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What is the difference between Hemingway's third person point of view used in "Hills Like White Elephants" and The Old Man and the Sea?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 19, 2011 at 10:08 PM (Answer #1)

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I think that the fundamental difference in the third person style of narration in both stories is one of support for the protagonists.  It is evident in the narration of Santiago's narrative that Hemingway is in support of the old man, as he rages against social conventions, time, and how others see him.  The narrator tells his tale, but there is an evident support for what Santiago endures and the challenges he must overcome.  This affirmation is not present in the narrative style of Jig and the American.  By contrast, Hemingway tries his best to maintain his distance in the short story.  His voice is not as evident as he attempts to let "the moment" breathe and evolve on its own.  His use of language is noticeably more sparse and less present, oftentimes not even adding any thoughts after each character speaks to one another.  It reads more like a dialogue or a stage play without instructions than anything else.  Hemingway does this in his attempt to recreate through words a moment in time.  Language's imprecision is something that he seeks to overcome with a noticeable absence in narration, something in contrast to his style in narrating the Hemingway Hero Santiago's moment of struggle and eventual perseverance.

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