Style and Technique (Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition)
Hemingway tells the story from the point of view of the young American, but in the objective or pseudo-third person. By telling the story from the American’s point of view yet not making him the narrator, Hemingway manages to objectify and distance the surface of the narrative without affecting the intimacy established between the reader and the American.
The restraint with which the characters experience and voice their emotions is reinforced by the stylistic restraints that Hemingway imposes on his narrative. The central issue of the story, that courage is necessary for life as well as death, is not revealed until the end, when the doctor explains the tragedy of the death of the major’s young wife. The major’s intense grief at his wife’s death is conveyed by language that avoids labeling the emotion he feels: “The photographs did not make much difference to the major because he only looked out of the window.” The American may or may not understand the major’s bitter loss, but the reader inevitably perceives the major’s emotional wound and his courage in not giving up.
Hemingway uses images to suggest the feelings of his characters; the emotions of the characters are conveyed indirectly by what they see. The mood or tone of the story is established in the first paragraph, in which the dead game outside the shops is described as “stiff,” “heavy,” and “empty.” The American’s awareness of death controls the way he...
(The entire section is 437 words.)
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Topics for Further Study
What Do I Read Next?
Bibliography and Further Reading
Bibliography (Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition)
Benson, Jackson J., ed. New Critical Approaches to the Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1990.
Berman, Ronald. Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and the Twenties. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2001.
Bloom, Harold, ed. Ernest Hemingway. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2005.
Burgess, Anthony. Ernest Hemingway. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1999.
Flora, Joseph M. Ernest Hemingway: A Study of the Short Fiction. Boston: Twayne, 1989.
Hays, Peter L. Ernest Hemingway. New...
(The entire section is 186 words.)