Originally Posted by issybird
I'd read the earlier Hemingway novels a long time ago and in memory, after a while Hemingway's writing style seemed a parody of itself. But I thought My Old Man quite perfect; the spareness of the style ideally suited to this story of loss and innocence corrupted, an expression of the zeitgeist of its time but also universal.
I like how Hemingway's style of writing is described by the iceberg theory. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iceberg_Theory
His sentences are direct. He doesn't write a lot of fluff. Yet, he tells you as much of the story by what he doesn't say as what he does say. Hills Like White Elephants
is a good example where he never comes out directly to say what the couple is discussing and the reader must infer it from the dialogue. Perhaps his style was influenced by his journalism. Clearly his war experiences influenced him. My Old Man
was written in the years after WWI and the world was changing then and losing its innocence in the face of modernization and coming out of such destruction and likely personal pain caused by the Great War. It must have been a very confusing time in history, very transitional.
By the way, I found the Kristy McNichol movie on YouTube. That's a scary reflection back to the 70's!
In his own words from Death in the Afternoon
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.
Originally Posted by caleb72
Maybe I got a bit confused, but are we just studying one short story or a collection?
A specific story was nominated, but I would be in favor of discussing other stories too. I bought a compilation of his stories and have been reading a few at a time. I have really enjoyed his writing. I read The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber
and The Snows of Kilimanjaro
which are two of his more popular stories and also quite complex and would be good for discussion. I also liked A Clean, Well-Lighted Place
and I Guess Everything Reminds You of Something
. As you read more of his stories you can see common themes of death, loss, loneliness, relationships between men & women and fathers & sons, war, youth versus age, etc. It enables you to compare and contrast some his stories.