Iceberg Theory Essay

886 words - 4 pages

Lin 2Tommy LinMrs. PasillasAmerican Literature Period 2April 8, 2014Iceberg TheoryIceberg theory was an idea of a new theory Ernest Hemingway conceived after finishing his short story "Out of Season". Later in Death in the Afternoon, he compared the theory to an iceberg, "If a writer of prose knows enough of what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A writer who omits things because he does not know them only makes hollow places in his writing" (Chapter 16). He believed that a writer could describe an action while conveying a different message about the action itself. Hemingway described the method in his essay," A few things I have found to be true. If you leave out important things or events that you know about, the story is strengthened. If you leave or skip something because you do not know it, the story will be worthless. The test of any story is how very good the stuff that you, not your editors, omit" (The Art of Short Story par. 7). By using this method, different person might have different interpretation from the text, and this allow him to talk about the phenomenon in society in his way without offending others.The short sentences in Hemingway's stories is a good representation of the iceberg theory. Just like the iceberg, it only reveal small part of itself to the world. Hemingway believed that the true meaning of a piece of writing should not be evident from the surface of the story. By using short sentences, He can tell the full story in a limited length. Provide only the important parts and cut off anything that is unnecessary, a short story has to be short, it would become worthless if the writer try to describe a thing by using long sentences.Themes in Hemingway's stories reflect many phenomenon in the society. In Cat in the Rain, selfishness is one of the main themes. "I'm going down and get that kitty, / I want to have a kitty sit on my lap, / Oh, shut up and get something to read"(Cat in the Rain line 72-75). The selfishness of the wife and the husband can be clearly see here. The husband wants a quiet place and keep ignoring the wife; the wife wants to be love and keep asking for it. Both of them want to...

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