THE WRITING STYLE OF ERNEST HEMINGWAY
(Name) English III - CP
June 09, 2003 (Teacher's name)
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THESIS STATEMENT: The usage of repetition and ambiguous words in the work of Ernest Hemingway is a well-known characteristic of his writing style. This type of writing is similar throughout all his books and short stories.
A. Usage of short and simple sentences
B. Usage of repeated words throughout same paragraph
II. Development of Hemingway's writing style
A. The "American" writing style
B. Later writing characteristics
III. Influences in the development of this writing style
A. Extended use of death imagery
B. Hemingway's self-discipline in writing.
C. Presentation of characters
1. Violence and emotions in characters
2. Reduction of characters to animal levels
IV. Hemingway's depression and effect on writing style
A. Writing style in early works
B. Writing style during depression
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The Writing Style of Ernest Hemingway:
When you read the many novels and short stories of Ernest Hemingway, there is one thing that you discover upon closer examination. His writing style is almost the same in all of his work. The use of phrases and sentences, the repeated use of the same word for emphasis, the irony, the detailed graphic description of scenes that deal with death, and even the portrayal of his significant characters in the stories are surprisingly similar to each other.
One of the widely used writing forms that we see in Hemingway's work, is that he uses simple and short sentences but with a deep meaning. He also likes to use the same word many times but in each sentence he looks at the word with a different perspective or he uses it in a different way and with another approach, doing that in order to emphasize the detailed description of that scene. An example of this writing style, is the following passage of a description of a love scene from his book For Whom the Bell Tolls:
"For him it was a dark passage which led to nowhere, then to nowhere,
then again to nowhere, once again to nowhere, always and forever to
nowhere, heavy on the elbows in the earth to nowhere, dark, never any
end to nowhere, hung on all time always to unknowing nowhere, this
time and again for always to nowhere, now beyond all bearing up, up, up
and into nowhere, suddenly, scaldingly, holdingly all nowhere gone and
time absolutely still and they were both there, time having stopped and he
felt the earth move out and away from under them."
We can clearly see that Hemingway uses the word "nowhere" continuously. Although he could simply describe that scene, he chooses to portray it in an allegorical sense, which is almost impossible to understand without further explanation. Melvin Backman analyzes the love scene by comparing it with a death scene, saying that "While the killing of the bull ends in union (from Hemingway's book "The Matador and the Crucified"), the making of love, as Hemingway has often remarked, becomes a kind of killing, the good killing. The famous love passage in For
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Whom the Bell Tolls, when the earth seems to move, is so filled with death imagery that it might be taken for a description of dying." (Baker, 138).
Hemingway's writing style was not a talent that he was born with. It was developed over
time, becoming better and deeper in meaning as time passed, and as he gained more experience as a writer. In the early stages of his writing career when he worked as a newspaper reporter, he used a plain and simple "American Style", which was a writing form "full of repeated words,
prepositional phrases, and present participles." (Qtd. in "Ernest (Miller) Hemingway" DISCovering Literature CD-Rom) As he gained more experience and started writing novels and not just newspaper articles, he kept some of the characteristics of the "American Style" but new...
Cited: Baker, Carlos. "Ernest Hemingway: Critiques of Four Major Novels." A Scribner Research Anthology. Eds. Martin Steinmann, Jr. New York: Charles Scribner 's Sons, 1962.
----. "Hemingway and his critics." An international Anthology edited and with an introduction by Carlos Baker. New York: Hill and Wang, 1961
"Ernest (Miller) Hemingway." DISCovering Literature. CD-ROM. New York: Gale Group Research Co., 1997.
"Ernest (Miller) Hemingway." Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2003. 1997. http://web1.infotrac.galegroup.com/itw/infromark/959/161/36630103w1/purl=rc1_CA_0 _H... (14 May, 2003).
"Hemingway, Ernest." Contemporary Literary Criticism. 1957--critic: W. M. Frohock, "Ernest Hemingway--The River and the Hawk," in his The Novel of Violence in America, Southern Methodist University Press, revised edition, 1957, pp. 168-98.
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