Tag Archives: hemingway

Wanting to talk and then not wanting to talk

“At first Krebs, who had been at Belleau Wood, Soissons, the Champagne, St. Mihiel and in the Argonne did not want to talk about the war at all.  Later he felt the need to talk but no one wanted to hear about it.  His town had heard too many atrocity stories to be thrilled by actualities.  Krebs found that to be listened to at all he had to lie, and after he had done this twice he, too, had a reaction against the war and against talking about it” (69).

Hemingway, Ernest.  In Our Time.  New York:  Charles Scribner’s Sons.  1970.

Notes: Lies versus truth and how they play into the idea of talking about the war, the debate of wanting to talk about it and not wanting to talk about it, report-style writing (it has a certain journalistic quality to it reporting facts but not all the details – like what stories had been told)

Underlying Tension in Soldier’s Home

“‘I had a talk with your father last night, Harold,’ she said, ‘and he is willing for you to take the car out in the evenings.’

‘Yeah?’ said Krebs, who was not fully awake. ‘Take the car out? Yeah?'” (Hemingway 73).

Hemingway, Ernest. In Our Time. New York, NY: Scribner, 2003. Print.

Notes: Just in these two lines,  you can see so much strain between Krebs and his family. the short, terse sentences emphasize the lack of communication between Krebs and his mother. The fact that the mother calls him Harold while the narrator calls him Krebs shows the difference in how the mother and son relate to each other; the mother feels she is on a more personal level with her son, but the narrator states otherwise by calling Harold by their impersonal last name, almost how soldiers in an army would refer to each other. Not to mention the fact that Krebs just came back from war, but he still needs permission to drive the family car around, but restricted only at night.

I Can Tell a Mile Off

Drevitts got frightened when he found they were both dead. Hell Jimmy, he said, you oughtn’t to have done it. There’s liable to be a hell of a lot of trouble.

–They’re crooks, ain’t they? said Boyle. They’re wops, ain’t they? Who the hell is going to make any trouble?

–That’s all right maybe this time, said Drevitts, but how did you know they were wops when you bumped them?

Wops, said Boyle, I can tell wops a mile off.

Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time, (New York: Simon & Schuster Inc., 1996), 79.

Notes: Killing can be justified. Killing without proof can be justified. Killing is justifiable. Nobody cares about crooks. Nobody cares to check.

In Our Time

“The Greeks were nice chaps too. When they evacuated they had all their baggage animals they couldn’t take off with them so they just broke their forelegs and dumped them into the shallow water. All those mules with their forelegs broken pushed over into the shallow water. It was all a pleasant business. My word yes a most pleasant business” (Hemingway 12).

Hemingway, Ernest. In Our Time. New York: Scribner, 1996.

Notes: This is a terrible end to a terrible story. Terrible as in content wise because it is obviously well written. Dark humor is pretty terrible. Wondering now if repetition serves, as it did with Joyce, for ironic purposes.


The bull of Death

“Maera lay still, his head on his arms, his face in the sand. He felt warm and sticky from the bleeding. Each time he felt the horn coming. Sometimes the bull only bumped him with his head. Once the horn went all the way through him and he felt it go into the sand. Some one had the bull by the tail. They were swearing at him and flopping the cape in his face. Then the bull was gone. Some men picked Maera up and started to run with him toward the barriers through the gate out the passageway around under the grandstand to the infirmary. They laid Maera down on a cot and one of the men went out for the doctor. The others stood around. The doctor came running from the corral where he had been sewing up picador horses. He had to stop and wash his hands. There was a great shouting going on in the grandstand overhead. Maera felt everything getting larger and larger and then smaller and smaller. Then it got larger and larger and larger and then smaller and smaller. Then everything commenced to run faster and faster as when they speed up a cinematograph film. Then he was dead.” (131) – Chapter XIV

Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time, Scribner Editions, 2003

Nick’s Disconnect

“His father picked the baby up and slapped it to make it breathe and handed it to the old woman.

‘See, it’s a boy, Nick,’ he said. ‘How do you like being an interne?’

Nick said, ‘All right.’ He was looking away so as not to see what his father was doing.

‘There. That gets it,’ said his father and put something into the basin.

Nick didn’t look at it.

‘Now,’ his father said, ‘there’s some stitches to put in. You can watch this or not, Nick, just as you like. I’m going to sew up the incision I made.’

Nick did not watch. His curiosity had been gone for a long time” (17).

Hemingway, Ernest. In Our Time. New York; Scribner, 2003.

Notes: distance, disconnect from reality, language (void of emotion), emotions come across in Nick’s character, weakness, conscious disregard for connection

A prayer

“Dear jesus please get me out. Christ please please please christ. If you’ll only keep me from getting killed I’ll do anything you say. I believe in you and I’ll tell everyone in the world that you are the only one that matters. Please please dear jesus” Hemingway, Ernest. In Our Time. New York; Simon and Schuster, 2003. pg 67.

When I started reading the Hemingway assignment, I thought his style was almost too simple, rather childlike. His sentences are short. There is little description. He uses what I feel are very basic and general words ~ such as “good,” and repeats himself. Yet he is able to evoke strong feelings and sensation from the reader with his style even though it seems so minimalist. In the above passage from chapter 7 the lack of commas and capitalization lend an urgency to the prayer and make the reader feel this desperate moment in a near death experience in war. The promise of devotion made to God when one is all alone and terrified is relateable. This prayer gives the soldier’s experience in the trench a realism, and the reader the sensation, that a description may not as strongly convey. Yet it seems so simple!


The first German I saw climbed up over the garden wall. We waited till he got one leg over and then potted him. He had so much equipment on and looked awfully surprised and fell down into the garden. Then three more came over further down the wall. We shot them. They all came just like that (29).

Hemingway, Ernest. In Our Time. New York: Scribner, 1996.

Notes: “to pot” = “to hunt” – the German soldier is reduced to an animal; emotional distancing – no expression; garden and death do not seem to go well together