Fiction – Literature Essay

Hemingway’s modernist style of storytelling requires an impersonal narrator. The narrator describes the scene, and interjects small actions into the dialogue, but remains a facilitator for the reader to concentrate on the dialogue and the action of the story. The narrator in this story seems to tell the story as if it were a video clip, a nameless railway station somewhere between Barcelona and Madrid, ghostly white hills, a faceless waitress and an anonymous couple.

The use of this narrator makes the reader look much deeper into the dialogue of the couple, because without the narrator spelling out the action for the reader, one is forced to interpret much more from the character’s words. This modernist device tends to separate the reader momentarily from the text, so that the full impact of the story is not truly felt until one is finished reading. However, this device serves to make the story connect on a deeper level, and to have more impact as it hits one suddenly, instead of being built into a slow climax.

From almost the beginning of his writing career, Hemingway employed a distinctive style which drew comment from many critics. Hemingway does not give way to lengthy geographical and psychological description. His style has been said to lack substance because he avoids direct statements and descriptions of emotion. Basically his style is simple, direct and somewhat plain. He developed a forceful prose style characterized by simple sentences and few adverbs or adjectives.

He wrote concise, vivid dialogue and exact description of places and things. Critic Harry Levin pointed out the weakness of syntax and diction in Hemingway’s writing, but was quick to praise his ability to convey action The majority of his early novels were narrated in the first person and enclosed within a single point of view, however, when Hemingway wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls, he used several different narrative techniques.

He employed the use of internal monologues (where the reader is in the “mind” of a particular character), objective descriptions, rapid shifts of point of view, and in general a looser structure than in his earlier works. Hemingway believed that “a writer’s style should be direct and personal, his imagery rich and earthy, and his words simple and vigorous. The greatest writers have the gift of brevity, are hard workers, diligent scholars and competent stylistsю

To explain Hemingway’s style in a few paragraphs in such a manner as to satisfy those who have read his articles and books is almost impossible. It is a simple style, straight forward and modest. Hemingway’s prose is unadorned as a result of his abstaining from using adjectives as much as possible. He relates a story in the form of straight journalism, but because he is a master of transmitting emotion with out embelli

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