Analysis Of Hemingway's Narrative Technique As A Short Story Writer(A Clean, Well Lighted Place; Now I Lay Me; A Way You'll Never Be)

2230 words - 9 pages

Analysis of Hemingway's Narrative Technique as a Short- Story Writer

For many years, the narrative technique of Hemingway has been under debate. Writers before him had already achieved works that bear the characteristics of the modern short story, and many of their works could stand today, with those of Hemingway and of writers like Faulkner, as representative short stories of modern times. What distinguishes Hemingway both from his predecessors and from his contemporaries, however, is the theory he produces to deal with the challenge of spatial limitation which every short story writer has to face: how can he say more than his space actually allows him to say? The principle of the iceberg, as the theory is called by Hemingway, leaves distinctive imprints on his short stories: a clipped, spare style, naturalistic presentation of actions and observations, heavy reliance on dramatic dialogue, and a pattern of connection extending backwards and forwards between the various stories.

Because of the above, it is helpful to have some understanding of his theory. In Death in the afternoon, Hemingway (1932,191) points out that no matter how good a phrase or a simile a writer may have, he is spoiling his work out of egotism if he puts it in where it is not absolutely necessary. The form of a work, according to Hemingway, should be created out of experience, and no intruding elements should be allowed to falsify that form and betray that experience. As a result, all that can be dispensed with should be pruned off: convention, embellishment, rhetoric. It is this tendency of writing that has brought Hemingway admiration as well as criticism, but it is clear that the author knew what he was doing when he himself commented on his aim:

...I always try to write on the principle of the iceberg. There is seven-eights of it under water for every part that shows. Everything you know you can estimate and it only strengthens your iceberg (cited in Moritz 1968, 168).

One observation that can be made on Hemingway's narrative technique as shown in his short stories is his clipped, spare style, which aims to produce a sense of objectivity through highly selected details. Hemingway refuses to romanticize his characters. Being "tough" people, such as boxers, bullfighters, gangsters, and soldiers, they are depicted as leading a life more or less without thought. The world is full of such people, and it is unrealistic to put sublime thoughts into their heads. So Hemingway writes about them in their own oxlike, instinctive, thoughtless language. To write about gangsters, for example, Hemingway adopts their own language, with its slang and vernacular, as can be found in "The Killers": "hot town" ,"what the hell", "talk to goddam much" ,"blow his head off". "it ain't that". In "After a Storm", the narrator as protagonist is probably a sea adventurer, so he tells the story in a language that is cold and void of emotion.

It wasn't about anything,...

Find Another Essay On Analysis of Hemingway's narrative technique as a short story writer(A clean, well-lighted place; Now I lay me; A way you'll never be)

A Clean Well-Lighted Place Essay

1677 words - 7 pages A Clean Well-Lighted Place A Clean, Well-Lighted Place by Ernest Hemingway looks at age from the viewpoint of an inexperienced and experienced individual, with the aid of an old man to emphasize the difference between the two. This story takes place late one night in a caf. The caf is clean, pleasant, and well lighted, which brings some kind of comfort to the atmosphere. Here in the caf sits a deaf, lonely, older man, who although is deaf...

A Clean, Well-Lighted Place Essay

1073 words - 4 pages Ernest Hemingway developed his own style of writing and follows it in “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place”. Hemingway’s elegance in writing is such that he indirectly gives all of the information to the reader without making any judgment; thus allowing one to create an opinion about every minute detail of the story. Hemingway illustrates his foundations of writing in “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” by providing small clues that provide an indirect view...

A Clean Well-lighted Place

626 words - 3 pages The story A Clean Well-Lighted Place can be interpreted in many ways. Some people may think it's about loneliness and aging, and others may think it's just about a cafe compared to a regular bar. Either way, Hemingway does a...

A Clean, Well-Lighted Place

1076 words - 4 pages Human Life: Torture of the Mind Ernest Hemingway captures the essence and origins of nihilistic thought in “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place”, written in a time of religious and moral confusion shortly after The Great War. The ideas expressed in this short story represent the post World War 1 thinking of Hemingway, and the notoriously nihilistic Lost Generation in Paris, which was greatly influenced by the many traumas of war. Learning from his...

A Clean, Well-lighted Place

1519 words - 6 pages This story was written by Hemingway in 1933. It details an evening's interaction between two waiters, and their differing perspectives of life. Hemingway uses an old man as a patron to demonstrate the waiter's philosophies. Hemingway is also visible in the story as the old man, someone who society says should be content, but has a significant empty feeling inside. What follows is a line-by-line analysis, putting emphasis on the philosophies of...

Yearning for Peace in Hemingway's A Clean, Well-Lighted Place

1218 words - 5 pages Yearning for Peace in Hemingway's A Clean, Well-Lighted Place          While Hemingway's short story "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" is usually interpreted as an intensely poetic description of despair, it can with equal validity be seen instead as mankind's never ending yearning to find spiritual peace. Hemingway's short story displayed this emotional journey in many different ways. First, the title itself is a symbol for man's desire to...

an essay on Hemingway's "A clean and well-lighted place".

971 words - 4 pages an essay on a short story by Earnest Hemmingway good essay, well writtenErnest Hemingway was born on July 21st, 1899. He was the son of Dr. Clarence Edmonds and Grace Hall Hemingway. He grew up in a small town called Oak Park, Illinois. Hemingway was brought up in a somewhat conservative household by his parents who pushed the...

Simplicity in a "Clean Well Lighted Place"

546 words - 2 pages Ernest Hemingway is known as one of the best writers of our time. He has a unique writing style in which he manipulates the English language to use the minimum amount of words and maximize the impression on the reader. A Clean, Well-Lighted Place is a prime example of this. Here, Ernest Hemingway uses his writing style to reinforce the theme of “Nada”. The setting is simple, the characters are plain, and the dialogues among them are short and to...

A thoughtful response to Ernest Hemingway's "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place".

524 words - 2 pages Ernest Hemingway tells a story about the difference between an old man and a young man's perspective on life in "A Clean Well-Lighted Place." In this story, the younger

The Significance of Purpose in Life, analysis of "A Clean Well-lighted Place"

1216 words - 5 pages The Significance of Purpose in LifeA life without purpose and belief is a life without meaning and hope. Solitary elderly people who believe that suffering and death are essentially arbitrary part of the world need a place of refuge from this terrible awareness that human lives are essentially meaningless. Hemingway, in his "

Masterplots: Déjà vu and Memories of Happiness An analysis of masterplots and deja vu found in Ernest Hemingway's "A Clean Well-Lighted Place" and Annie Proulx's "Brokeback Mountain"

1151 words - 5 pages Masterplots: Déjà vu and Memories of HappinessOnce upon a time, at sometime and someplace in their life, everyone has probably felt truly happy, free and alive. If not, they at least have an idea of what happiness is supposed to be like. The unfortunate thing is that due to circumstances, as humans living within the restrictions of society, we rarely are able to achieve this state and instead spend our lives trying to...

Similar Essays

Hemingway's Story "A Clean Well Lighted Place."

1042 words - 4 pages Three Generations of A ManWhat is so different about an old man and young man? The difference between the two is their outlook on life. Ernest Hemingway tells a story about this in "A Clean Well-Lighted Place." In this...

Hemingway's A Clean Well Lighted Place Essay

2873 words - 11 pages I chose to read and write about Hemingway's "A Clean Well-Lighted Place". Here is a summary of what happens. Two waiters in a Spanish café are waiting one night for their last customer, an old man, to leave. As they wait, they talk about the old man's recent suicide attempt. The younger waiter is impatient to leave and tells the dead old man he wishes the suicide attempt had been successful. The young waiter has a wife waiting in bed for him and...

A Clean Well Lighted Place Essay

1253 words - 5 pages There has been a longstanding dispute among critics that argues the reasons behind such obvious ambiguity in Ernest Hemingway's 'A Clean Well-Lighted Place,' attempting to figure out whether or not the author did so purposely....

A Clean, Well Lighted Place Essay

1477 words - 6 pages “ A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” by Ernest Hemingway is a simplistic short story in which he narrates a scene in a Cafe, where the main characters are two waiters and an old man. In the story, Hemingway hardly created a background for his characters, but this was part of his minimalist writing style. He wanted to create a story that was straightforward to the reader, and in which the reader could easily understand his attitude. His purpose for...