If I were to acquire a permanent life-changing injury, I feel that it would consume my life and become who I am. Going to war, which is what Hemingway’s In Our Time is about, can cause a lot of detrimental issues mentally and physically for a person. If I were to endure a serious injury, I feel that I would bottle up my emotions and not reach out to anyone for anything. I would do this to reassure myself that I am capable of doing things as I once did; however, I also believe it would cause emotional damage. I think it’s best to reach out to people, even if they do not want to listen. Having a life changing injury would not only alter my physical state, but severely damage my mental and emotional state as well.
Individual isolation promotes healing within Nick because it allows him to reflect upon all that he has been through, from the war up until this moment. It also allows him to come to terms with any struggles he has been going through because he has no one else there to bother him. Because he chose to be alone, it displays his willingness to heal. In “Big Two-Hearted River: Part I” Hemingway states, “They were not the big grasshoppers with yellow and black or red and black wings whirring out from their black wing sheathing as they fly up. These were just ordinary hoppers, but all sooty black in color” (Hemingway 135). This shows that upon Nicks personal soul searching, he is comparing the adaptation of the grasshopper to its surroundings to his adaptation of himself to his newfound self. This transformation into his new self will allow him to continue his life free of his past troubles. Coping by avoiding the issue is a common strategy for people to use, especially in Hemingway’s short stories. In “On the Quai at Smyrna” the Hemingway says, “You couldn’t get the women to give up their dead babies…Nothing you could do about it. Had to take them away finally” (Hemingway 11).
In this statement, Hemingway is showing a form of coping which displays avoidance as well as denial. The woman are avoiding their loss by pretending the situation never happened. By keeping the dead children, as disturbing as it is, it allows the women more time with their kid so they can come to terms with their death. This coping mechanism can also be seen in “Three Day Blow” when Nick and Bill continuously drank over any and everything (Hemingway 43-45). Nick is drinking to the loss of Marjorie–his former girlfriend–in hopes to console himself. He is distraught because he feels he made the wrong decision in breaking up with Marjorie, so he is drinking to forget his problems which offers him a temporary healing. Lastly, diversion coping is shown in “The Doctor and the Doctor’s Wife” when Henry says “I think I’ll go for a walk.” (Hemingway 26) Not only does the doctor take a walk after his angering encounter with Dick, he takes his shotgun with him. This form of diversion differs from the previous stories in that he is not altering his form of consciousness, like the husband when he killed himself or Nick when he got drunk. This form of coping is the most sensible of the three forms shown; allowing him to clear his head and find time to calm down.
The purpose of vignettes in Hemingway’s In Our Time are to help clarify the major themes that are conveyed throughout the story. Hemingway’s short stories are not always the easiest to comprehend so by adding in the vignettes, the reader is able to cogitate about the true meaning behind the stories. The vignettes also helps to provide some background information so the reader can anticipate what the upcoming story will be about.
Imagists poets are poets that use little words to describe the subject vividly in order to relay an important message or theme. Hemingway does this by using symbolism and only giving minimal information, leaving the reader to interpret the underlying message. This imagist style of writing is shown primarily in Hemingway’s “The End of Something”. He says “…there was nothing of the mill left except the broken white limestone…” (Hemingway 31). The imagery of the mill symbolizes and foreshadows Nick and Marjorie’s relationship. The title is an example of how Hemingway gives off only surface details, leaving the reader to figure out the rest, seeing as he wrote “Something” instead of telling us what is ending. Hemingway also focuses on syntax when painting an image for this story. Nick uses short, pithy sentences while Marjorie’s statements are long and thought out. This helps lead the reader to understand the purpose of the story, which is that Nick is not happy in his relationship with Marjorie. He feels as if “It isn’t fun anymore” (Hemingway 34).
The conflict in “Cat in the Rain” is that the American wife is desperately trying to find a meaning in life that comes with a sense of independence but her husband George is not interested. This conflict is introduced when the wife showed her interested in saving the cat from the rain and George offered to do it “…from the bed” (Hemingway 91. This interaction is the initial conversation between the wife and George, showing how the wife would like to change up her life while the husband does not care about her interests, but at least wants to look as if he does. The conflict is then resolved when the hotel-keeper sends the hotel maid up to the wife’s room to give her a cat (Hemingway 94). This does not resolve the stagnancy between the wife and George’s relationship but does help the wifes internal struggle of wanting something different in her life. The setting of this story is described very vividly in the first paragraph. It is then said that the wife is “…at the window looking out” (Hemingway 91). The isolation between the distinctly described setting and the inside of the hotel room coincides with the isolation the wife feels from her husband. The wife wants to not only feel affection from her husband, but wants to lead an independent life. The confines of the hotel room displays the confines of her emotional and mental needs in her relationship. Hemingway can be seen to experiment with the short story in that he has a lengthy first paragraph as opposed to the short introductions that he is known for. I believe he does this to affirm the relationship between the setting and the relationship.
Hemingway’s style of writing is different from a lot of writers. Both similarities and differences can be seen when comparing Hemingway’s technique to that of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s. In Hemingway’s writing, his diction is usually easier to understand when compared to Fitzgerald. This is most likely because he does not explicitly state what he means, so the lower level–while sophisticated–diction is to help lead the reader to the purpose. Fitzgerald’s stories are more about the distinction between economic classes, therefore more elevated diction is necessary. I believe Fitzgeralds syntax is moreso to help display a characters emotions, while Hemingways syntax is more in depth with the deeper meaning of the story. The same concept is applicable concerning dialogue. Fitzgerald’s dialogue between characters is to establish emotions and to connote a specific feeling while Hemingway’s dialogue normally reveals hidden meanings. In some of Hemingway’s stories, the dialogue between characters alternate from short, pithy statements to lengthy ones. He does his to compel the reader to think about Nick’s uninterest. I believe that Hemingway and Fitzgerald are similar regarding imagery because they both rely on the images they present in their stories to symbolize other object, or to relate to some deeper meaning. They also use images in literary devices like similes or metaphors to clarify their point. Lastly within Hemingway’s In Our Time, his tone is most often confused. This comes along with his tendency to use the iceberg method which gives the reader little information. He normally sets the tone to how he felt during the particular time because almost all of his stories are personal accounts. Fitzgerald’s stories however vary, so I feel as if the tone in Fitzgerald’s novels are more dispersed when compared to Hemingways.
In “Soldier’s Home”, Krebs is motivated by his parents and the tendencies of society. Being in the war changed Krebs in a way that made him seem distant from his family, friends, and his former self. The second half of this story creates a worrisome mood. Krebs’s family is noticing that he no longer acts like himself. His mother–in attempt to bring back his old self–says his father “…thinks that you have lost your ambition, that you haven’t got a definite aim in life…you are going to have to settle down to work, Harold” (Hemingway 75). The word “lost” in this sentence is significant in that is describes how Krebs’s character has changed since he left for war. All of the chaos that comes with war has eaten away at Krebs, leaving him lost. This word choice also creates a melancholy mood, making Krebs seem like an outcast. His mother also then compares Krebs’s current state with that of Charley Simmons “…who is just your age, has a good job and is going to be married” (Hemingway 75). His mother is now pushing societal norms upon Krebs. Though she is trying to urge Krebs kindly to act like all other men his age, she is only furthering hm from being normal. The way she speaks to him is in a friendly manner, meaning that she is genuinely concerned for his well being and thinks that getting back out into society will help him snap out of whatever mental and emotional state he is currently in.
Hemingway’s style, especially being concise with wording, helps to reveal themes throughout his stories. In “Indian Camp”, Hemingway displays images of both life and death. Though he does not explicitly state this, from the setting and tone of the story, the reader should pick up on the theme of mortality. Hemingway wants the reader to understand that nothing is permanent, not even life. Hemingway also embeds themes into his dialogue. On page 18 Hemingway says “Ought to have a look at the proud father. They’re usually the worst sufferers in these little affairs…I must say he took it all pretty quietly.” From this quote the reader is supposed to realize that the husband is not the father of the child, but it is in fact uncle George. This quote is also supposed to serve as a sort of justification for the husband killing himself. This brings about the theme grief. The husband could not bear the thought of raising an mans child; therefore, he killed himself. Hemingway’s style of giving only enough information to make the reader understand and by being concise with word choice helps develop his themes and underlying messages in a way that is uniquely his own.
In 1) “The Three-Day Blow”, Hemingway depicts a very clear image of the gloomy weather and states “It was the first of the autumn storms.” (Hemingway 39). This juxtaposes the phrase later on the page where Nick enters he cottage to be near the fire (Hemingway 39). Hemingway is contrasting the two different environments only to compare them to Nicks internal situation. The outside weather is his initial feelings towards his relationship with Marjorie. He then moves inside to the fire where he is comfortable, referring to him leaving Marjorie to be cozy in the idea of being his own person. Hemingway also includes dialogue between Nick and Bill about baseball drafting. Nick states “There’s always more to it than we know about…”(Hemingway 41). This is a testament to Nick leaving Marjorie and adds to the stories theme of change. This quote shows how Nick’s feelings for Marjorie have changed since he has met her, because she is not who she thought she was. This quote also references the iceberg method that Hemingway uses, where he gives little detail, leaving it up to the reader to determine the deeper meaning.
In Hemingway’s 2) “The Battler”, the purpose of the story is to show the struggles of each character and to relay them back to internal struggles. As the story begins, Hemingway vividly describes the state Nick is in by saying “The pants were torn and the skin was barked. His hands were scraped and there were sand and cinders driven up under his nails” (Hemingway 53). The denotation of the word cinder is “A small piece of partly burned coa that has stopped giving off flames.” Hemingway uses the word cinder and the rest of his unsettling appearance to demonstrate how the war has left Nick battered and bruised, just as he is in this scene. Hemingway also includes dialogue between Ad and Nick which states “When you got it you don’t know about it” (Hemingway 56), referring to Ad being crazy. This line is significant to the story because it concurs with a soldiers feelings toward the war. Severe PTSD can cause a great deal of damage to someone mentally and emotionally; therefore, this line helps convey his theme of struggling. This line is also contains a major idea brought about in 3) “Soldier’s Home”. The act of not knowing is prevalent in this story which helps Hemingway impart a theme of isolation. When speaking of the girls–in both his hometown and Germany–Hemingway uses repetition of the word complicated (Hemingway 72). This is Kreb’s personal view human interaction, no so much of the girls themselves. Being in the war has lead him to fear communication, forcing him into isolation. This also demonstrates juxtaposition between the hometown and german girls