Morley Callaghan Short Fiction Analysis
Over his long career, Morley Callaghan published more than one hundred short stories, in such magazines as The New Yorker, Scribner’s Magazine, and numerous other magazines. Many of these have been collected in his four volumes of short stories.
While there are variations and exceptions, Callaghan’s stories generally have recognizable characteristics. Foremost of these is the style: Most noticeably in the early works, Callaghan employs short declarative sentences, colloquial dialogue, and plain, unadorned language. As he remarked in That Summer in Paris, he attempts to “tell the truth cleanly.” This sparse, economical, straightforward style has been compared with Hemingway’s. Perhaps Callaghan was influenced by Hemingway (he admired and respected the older author), but it is likely that Callaghan’s work on a newspaper shaped his writing, just as Hemingway’s style was honed by his years of reporting.
Like a journalist, Callaghan presented the events in his stories objectively, neither condemning nor praising his character. By precisely recording his observations, Callaghan allows his readers to form their own judgments. He strives “to strip the language, and make the style, the method, all the psychological ramifications, the ambience of the relationships, all the one thing, so the reader couldn’t make separations. Cézanne’s apples. The appleness of the apples. Yet just apples.” In other words, he...
(The entire section is 3464 words.)
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