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Subject:  Re: "In Our Time" Discussion Date:  2/28/2001  3:43 PM
Author:  cyanatic Number:  221 of 3398

1FW: "Somebody must have read this book. Even if you hated it, at least say that. Before long I'm going to have to start answering my own questions and have a discussion with myself...nobody wants that."


Okay, I'l bite. I don't have a whole lot of time, but I agree with you that we need to get the ball rolling here. I'll use some of your questions as a starting point.

"Would you consider this more a collection of stories, or a novel?"

Less of a novel in the traditional sense due to its' lack of a cohesive central narrative thread. (This is probably an extremely outdated and overly simplistic "definition" of a novel in this day and age.) However, I would tend to interpret it more as a novel if one views the various "Nick" stories as experiential growth of that character (with, perhaps, the interchapters seen as the later experiences of an older, more worldly Nick?).

I think the interchapters create a complementary tension to the individual stories. I need to take a closer look at them, their position in relation to the stories they separate, and see if there's some thematic connection between them (I intuitively feel that there is one, but I can't make a more substantial case for this without spending more time on it.)

I have always read Hemingway more for pleasure than academic study, so I am quite ignorant of the scholarly "take" on Hemingway's work.

Rough observations:

The "spareness" of Hemingway's prose often leaves much unsaid and creates a tension between the matter of fact way in which characters speak and the emotional reality of what is actually going on. In "Indian Camp" for example, (I am paraphrasing from memory here, I am at work and the book is not with me...) the impact of what Nick is experiencing and feeling is implied, not implicitly stated: "Nick had long ago stopped being interested" (or words to that effect), NOT an in-depth description of the procedure followed by a detailed exposition of Nick's feelings about it. This lack of emotional detail (with Hemingway characters, it's always "Nick said", never: "Nick said in a quavering voice") leaves it to the reader to fill in the gaps and, IMHO, creates a greater impact.

1FW: "Indian Camp (first story):
Who is the baby's Father?" you've got me curious. Have to go back and reread it.

Question: In the interchapters, who is speaking? Is it always the same person? (Is the narrator of "On the Quay at Smyrna" the same narrator as the corporal cook who is told to put out the stove fire in a later chapter?

Well, I would have liked to go into this more, but work calls. Thanks for continuing this, I hope others join in, I'd love to hear what other thoughts/opinions are.


Steve G.

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