Tag Archives: in our time

Are they important?

“‘Oh, Daddy, can’t you give her something to make her stop screaming?’ asked Nick.
‘No. I haven’t any anaesthetic,’ his father said. ‘But her screams are not important. I don’t hear them because they are not important.'” (Hemingway 97).

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

Notes: characterization, concept of humanity and empathy, touches on a medical/surgical techniques to get a job done

In Our Time

Krebs acquired the nausea in regard to experience that is the result of untruth or exaggeration, and when he occasionally met another man who had really been a soldier and they talked a few minutes in the dressing room at a dance he fell into the easy pose of the old soldier among other soldiers: that he had been badly, sickeningly frightened all the time. In this way he lost everything. (70)

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

Notes: This passage shows the trouble Krebs has adjusting to life as a civilian. He doesn’t feel comfortable talking to other people about his experiences so he often lies and uses stories he has heard from others. The only time he seems to be at ease is when he is with other soldiers, showing that he is still in a war like mentality. Being with other soldiers give him a sense of acceptance and solidarity.

In Our Time

“The strange thing was, he said, how they screamed every night at midnight. I do not know why they screamed at that time.” (1)

Notes — vague, delayed specification of referents (who is he? who are they?), beginning the story en media res

“They shot the six cabinet ministers at half-past six in the morning against the wall of a hospital. There were pools of water in the courtyard.” (51)

Notes — detachment, simplicity of diction and syntax, no insight into the mind of the narrator, stating distressing events as simple facts, lack of emotion

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

“We shot them”

“We were in a garden at Mons. Young Buckley came in with his patrol from across the river. 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” (Hemingway 29).

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

Notes: The descriptions and actions in the passages are very direct. The German was described as having “so much equipment” and that he “looked awfully surprised.” The German “climbed” and they “waited” then “potted” him. The passage is also devoid of any emotion. The sentence “We shot them” is jarring in a way that something so powerful can be described in three words.

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)

difficulties of war

They whack–whacked the white horse on the legs and he kneed himself up.  The picador twisted the stirrups straight and pulled and hauled up into the saddle.  The horse’s entrails hung down in a blue bunch and swung backward and forward as he began to canter, the monos whacking him on the back of his legs with the rods.  He cantered jerkily along the barrera.  He stopped stiff and one of the monos held his bridle and walked him forward.  The picador kicked in his spurs, leaned forward and shook his lance at the bull.  Blood pumped regularly from between the horse’s front legs.  He was nervously wobbly.  The bull could not make up his mind to charge.  (89)

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

Notes: fight of horse and bull as metaphor for war.  two different sides.  physical and emotional anguish one experiences in war.  spanish references.

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.

setting camp

The ground rose, wooded and sandy, to over­look the meadow, the stretch of river and the swamp. Nick dropped his pack and rod-case and looked for a level piece of ground. He was very hungry and he wanted to make his camp before he cooked. Between two jack pines, the ground was quite level. He took the ax out of the pack and chopped out two projecting roots. That leveled a piece of ground large enough to sleep on. He smoothed out the sandy soil with his hand and pulled all the sweet fern bushes by their roots. His hands smelled good from the sweet fern. He smoothed the uprooted earth. He did not want anything making lumps under the blankets. When he had the ground smooth, he spread his three blankets. One he folded double, next to the ground. The other two he spread on top.

With the ax he slit off a bright slab of pine from one of the stumps and split it into pegs for the tent. He wanted them long and solid to hold in the ground. With the tent unpacked and spread on the ground, the pack, leaning against a jackpine, looked much smaller. Nick tied the rope that served the tent for a ridge-pole to the trunk of one of the pine trees and pulled the tent up off the ground with the other end of the rope and tied it to the other pine. The tent hung on the rope like a canvas blanket on a clothes line. Nick poked a pole he had cut up under the back peak of the canvas and then made it a tent by pegging out the sides. He pegged the sides out taut and drove the pegs deep, hit­ting them down into the ground with the flat of the ax until the rope loops were buried and the canvas was drum tight.

Across the open mouth of the tent Nick fixed cheese cloth to keep out mosquitoes. He crawled inside under the mosquito bar with various things from the pack to put at the head of the bed under the slant of the canvas. Inside the tent the light came through the brown canvas. It smelled pleasantly of canvas. Already there was something mysterious and homelike. Nick was happy as he crawled inside the tent. He had not been unhappy all day. This was different though. Now things were done. There had been this to do. Now it was done. It had been a hard trip. He was very tired. That was done. He had made his camp. He was settled. Noth­ing could touch him. It was a good place to camp. He was there, in the good place. He was in his home where he had made it. Now he was hungry.

He came out, crawling under the cheese cloth. It was quite dark outside. It was lighter in the tent.

Hemmingway, In Our Time, Chapter XIV, Big Two Hearted River, part 1

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