What does Hemingway’s “Iceberg Theory,” stating that seven eighths of any story exists below the surface, help explain? How might it help explain the Prosecutor’s smoking habit in “Home”?

Hemingway's “Iceberg Theory” helps to explain subtext.

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Ernest Hemingway's "Iceberg Theory" is particularly applicable to Hemingway's own fiction , in which characters often have what appear to be inconsequential conversations, with their true feelings lying beneath the surface. While this is a particular feature of Hemingway, every work of literature has a subtext, even where the...

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Ernest Hemingway's "Iceberg Theory" is particularly applicable to Hemingway's own fiction, in which characters often have what appear to be inconsequential conversations, with their true feelings lying beneath the surface. While this is a particular feature of Hemingway, every work of literature has a subtext, even where the author tries to make their intentions as explicit as possible. Since the subtext is what lies beneath the text, Hemingway's notion of the iceberg is a fitting metaphor. The Iceberg Theory, therefore, refers specifically to an explanation of a story's subtext.

The question refers specifically to a Chekov short story called "Home" ("Дома"). Chekov, like Hemingway, makes extensive use of subtext in his stories, particularly when emotions are running high. In this story, when the prosecutor has told his son the story about a prince who dies young due to smoking, it is evident that the boy is deeply moved. However, all he says is:

"I am not going to smoke any more."

This is a piece of dialogue Hemingway himself might easily have written.

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