TheHemingWay discussion

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Discussions of the short stories

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message 1: by Marie (new)

Marie | 8 comments Mod
Fire away - your thoughts, analysis etc.


message 2: by Ana' (new)

Ana' (anafichesdelectures) | 5 comments [The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber]

What a story... the end took me by surprise. Didn't see it coming.
I liked how Hemingway described the hunting business in its entirety: encompassing the gruesome, cruelty of the killing; exposing the feelings of the animals under attack & the sudden transformation that occurs in a snippet of time.

Wilson compares that transformation to be similar in war time: "Fear gone like an operation. Something else grew in its place." But it's not developed enough where from fear, one surpasses the "excitement" phase to a senselessly killing that can further be explained in "Ordinary Men" by Christopher Browning.

Woman are addressed in a negative connotation all along.


I've never read anything like it.


message 3: by Kay (new)

Kay Ana' wrote: "[The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber]

What a story... the end took me by surprise. Didn't see it coming.
I liked how Hemingway described the hunting business in its entirety: encompassing th..."


Yep, women are always addressed in a bad way. That is Hemingway for you - he is quite the sexist, I have been having a very complicated relationship with him since I first read him in high school. But does the man know how to write!


message 4: by Silje (new)

Silje | 8 comments I really enjoyed this story. I found portrayal of the relationship between the husband and the wife and their power struggle very interesting. The outcome of the story didn't surprise me that much, hence the title, but I like that the ending is open. Was it an accident or not?
In general I love the way Hemingway writes, the writing is on point and the imagery is vivid. I felt like I was participating in the hunt - it was so real in all its violence.
Looking forward to read "The capital of the world" tonight.


message 5: by Silje (new)

Silje | 8 comments And because of autocorrect and things: "the portrayal" and "liked" , not "like" ;-)


message 6: by Margaret (last edited Jun 21, 2016 11:14AM) (new)

Margaret (mlafaive) I wonder if Hemingway meant for the reader to sympathize with any of these characters? I found them all to be rather despicable. That is not to say they weren't interesting! Francis does finally experience a transformation from immaturity to manhood in the moments before his death, but neither Margot nor Wilson seem to be changed much by the events of the safari.

The question of whether the death was an accident or not is fascinating. I tend to fall on the side of it being an accident mainly based on comparing the internal narrative of the lion with Margaret's internal narrative as she is pulling the trigger. Earlier in the story, we enter the mind of the lion in order to experience its reaction to being shot. There is nothing in the narrative or the actions that follow that lead us to believe that the lion is an unreliable narrator. In a similar way, we are given access to Margot's internal narrative in the last moment's of Macomber's life and I do not see anything there indicating that she is unreliable. At least in her mind, she is aiming for the buffalo and she is hysterical when the bullet actually hits her husband.

I know there are other complexities that might support the interpretation of the act as murder, but upon this first reading, it seems entirely plausible that it was an accident.


message 7: by Ana' (new)

Ana' (anafichesdelectures) | 5 comments [The Capital of The World]

Poor Paco


message 8: by Marie (new)

Marie | 8 comments Mod
Very interesting points you've made :) I really enjoyed this story as well! I found the play between Francis and his wife so fascinating. Her wanting him to be more manly and when he does become that it involves him distancing himself from her.

About the misogynistic element - I know a lot of people have problems with that, but imo its a bit anachronistic to judge a book from a different time period on modern day standards :) Just like with a 19th century novel we get an insight into the norms and restrictions of moral code from that period, we get the same insight from this period regarding the view on women. I find that interesting from a historical view point, but it doesn't anger me :)


message 9: by Silje (new)

Silje | 8 comments I totally agree with you on the misogynistic aspect, Marie. I think it's important to read it in the context of it's time - not that I agree on the wiew of women at that time. I'm fairly new to Hemingway, so even though I see that many readers are saying he is often sexist, I haven't experienced it myself. In this short story (Francis Macomber), I thought both Francis and Margot where described in a kind of negative way - Margot, in the beginning as a predator and Francis in the beginning as a silly coward - to emphasise the power balance in their relationship, and - eventually - the shift in that balance when Francis overcomes his fear (and becomes a "real" man?)


message 10: by Kay (new)

Kay I have to disagree about the misogyny - true, we have to read texts in their original context, but that doesn't excuse them for being sexist/racist/etc. Even if we like an author we have to admit when their works are problematic, because it makes it too easy for people to overlook controversial/offensive/etc. stories. And let's not forget that there are other authors writing in the same time/place who still manage to write full-fledged 'good' characters without that much bias.

The other point I wanted to make about the story is that Hemingway always writes about masculine themes - he is interested in exploring what a real man is, how a man becomes a man, how a man fails, etc., so we will see this theme throughout this entire collection. And Hemingway is excellent at writing all that manly/masculine dilemma.


message 11: by Suus (new)

Suus 3 stories in and so far all protagonists have died...


message 12: by Margaret (new)

Margaret (mlafaive) I was also thinking about the death of all of the protagonists. It seems like Paco's death is almost presented as a triumph as he died before he could become disillusioned. And at one point Harry seems to welcome death because he will not have to "fail at writing" his unwritten stories. Macomber's death seems more tragic as he died at the same moment that he became a completely realized "man". But maybe his death is similar to Paco's in that he only experiences the powerful rush of elation in the moment and doesn't go on to experience further disappointments.


message 13: by Liz (new)

Liz (lschubert) Kay wrote: "I have to disagree about the misogyny - true, we have to read texts in their original context, but that doesn't excuse them for being sexist/racist/etc. Even if we like an author we have to admit w..."

Why is it problematic? The wife comes off as rather bitchy. And because of this, I think she and Wilson are rather on even ground, jabbing at each other. I don't want books to just have good characters, to be honest.


message 14: by Marie (new)

Marie | 8 comments Mod
-- The Snows of Kilimanjaro --

Such a great story! And the dying continues hehe..
There were so many metaphors in this story, but the most important one I believe is the infected leg as an image of the way Harry has lived his life. He has not tended to the one thing that was most important to him - writing - because of laziness and a need to be comfortable among the rich... And on his death bed he wants to write, just as he feels the need to be honest to Helen about not loving her after all.
The overall atmosphere with the frame narrative of the vultures circling and the hyena closing in on him was also very effective!

How did you guys like it? :)


message 15: by Liz (new)

Liz (lschubert) I'm working on catching up tonight, coming late to the party. His writing is vivid. The hunt descriptions were almost too much, I felt rather sick! My favorite character was Margot.


message 16: by Silje (new)

Silje | 8 comments She's my favourite too. I'm a little behind on the reading and are half way through The Snows of Kilimanjaro. Liking it so far.


message 17: by Ana' (new)

Ana' (anafichesdelectures) | 5 comments [The Snows of Kilimanjaro]

I also liked all the references about writing & the metaphors. The final paragraph came out like a knife waking us up from the dreams.

[Old Man at the bridge]

is the first short story where death was undermined as a possible eventuality. Short, simple but with double meaning.

I liked it very much. It's my favorite of what we've read so far.


[Up in Michigan]

A completely different form of death. Quite different from the previous stories.


message 18: by Ana' (new)

Ana' (anafichesdelectures) | 5 comments [Old Man at the bridge]

forgot to mention that it captures a moment. It reminded me of Ida Fink's novel "A Scrap of Time & other stories".


message 19: by Marie (new)

Marie | 8 comments Mod
-- Old Man at the Bridge --
Yes, this was very touching!

-- Up in Michigan --
Yes, this was very different from the rest - perhaps because we see it from a female perspective? I really liked this one! Its written so that you can see it from both perspectives - both Jim and Liz. And they have very different experiences.. What strikes me is that it was like Liz didn't even really understand what had happened - she still kissed him and made sure he was warm even after he raped her. It shows her naivety and how people can easily be used by others if they care enough about them.. Or what do you guys think it signalizes? :)


message 20: by Margaret (new)

Margaret (mlafaive) -- Up in Michigan --

I think Liz's actions after the rape accentuate the differences between these two characters. Jim is a brute who had no feelings for Liz at all--he was only concerned with satisfying his own desires. Liz, on the the other hand, did have feelings for Jim (idealized, as they were). I think it is important that she was crying as she kissed him and covered him with her coat. It is as if she was putting her illusions to sleep. The last line about the cold mist rising seems to emphasize her disillusionment. This was a really terrific story!

-- Old Man at the Bridge --

This story just broke my heart! One of the best depictions of the effect of war on innocent bystanders who are just trying to do their work and live their lives.


message 21: by Silje (new)

Silje | 8 comments I have finally managed to catch up. So far I enjoyed all the stories - some more than others though. I had a rather difficult start with "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" - I struggled to understand Harrys actions toward the woman and it provoced me that she didn't have a name - just "the woman". But in the end I thought it was an amazing story. The throwbacks gave me a better understanding of Harry - some of it reminded me of "A Moveable Feast", so I think it's kind of autobiographical in parts? The hyena that slowly circles in on them was a vivid, and different, images of the forthcoming death and the ending just broke me. Loved it!
"Up in Michigan" was so painfully good. I liked that most if it was written from Liz point of view, and I think Hemingway managed to portray her, her vulnerability, pain and loss of illusions in a good and believable way. And again - the ending!!
"Indian camp" - this is the first story from a child's perspective and this child's first encounter with birth and abrupt death on the same night (both pretty brutal). No surprise; I loved the writing, and especially the way he leaves out all the brutal details from the operation, but focuses on the fact that Nick won't look at it - it's to much for him as a child to cope with.
I think that usually a first encounter with birth/death will make you put your own life in perspective - you'll realise that you one day will die. It's inevitably. It surprised me a bit that Nick - after this experience "felt quite sure that he would never die". Maybe it's because he's to young?
After I read this short story, I looked it up and found out that Nick will appear in several of the short stories, that he is a semi - autobiographical character and that the events in "Indian camp" made him a "badly scarred and nervous persona". I can't wait to read more!
Sorry for the long ramblings...


message 22: by Marie (new)

Marie | 8 comments Mod
- Indian Camp -

There's a story that precedes this one (one that was found in Hemingways notes when he had died), i which Nick is very afraid of dying - so I think the ending is sort of a full circle around that as well ^_^
So the most interesting thing in this one as far as I've been able to gather is the role of Uncle George... one interpretation could very well be that he is the father of the baby being born and that is why the indian father kills himself - there are quite a bit of clues in it if you read it again, you'll see it if you didn't at first :)
But this was a great story, I really enjoyed it! Nick reappears in the following one - or mostly his father, but he's in there.

In general Im surprised at how violent all of these stories are.. like everybody's getting killed, raped or something. Life is beautiful, but brutal...


message 23: by Silje (new)

Silje | 8 comments Oh yes, that could likely be the case - I highlighted several things about Uncle George during my reading that made me wonder about his role in all this. I'll read it one more time :-)
Interesting about the story before this.


message 24: by Ana' (new)

Ana' (anafichesdelectures) | 5 comments +Siljeblomst : [The snows of kilimanjaro] totally agree. The presence of the hyena was the precursor of death. The end was indeed brutal.
I'm so glad the series of stories following up "Indian Camp" are relatable.
In [The End of Something] we clearly witness the effect the past has on Nick. The remembrance of his childhood in that place does not offer any relief.
"I feel as though everything was gone to hell inside of me..."
It seems as if his upbringing in the forest took away his ability to start afresh, to move on.


message 25: by Liz (new)

Liz (lschubert) Yes Hemingway seems very dark. He committed suicide as did many other of his family members. I highly recommend the documentary Running from Crazy that is about his granddaughter Mariel Hemingway's struggle to keep depression at bay. They show Hemingway's home in Idaho and talk about his life and suicide. Seek it out, it's very good.


message 26: by Liz (new)

Liz (lschubert) I found the YouTube trailer for Running from Crazy. https://youtu.be/N4fqNvQnfHc


message 27: by Liz (new)

Liz (lschubert) One more video - a short bio of Hemingway https://youtu.be/0JQDe0GCNHg


message 28: by Marie (new)

Marie | 8 comments Mod
Ohh thank you so much, Liz!! Will check that out asap! :)


message 29: by Liz (new)

Liz (lschubert) Marie wrote: "Ohh thank you so much, Liz!! Will check that out asap! :)"

You are welcome! I see Running from Crazy can be rented on Amazon $3.99 US$


message 30: by Tina (new)

Tina Huntz (lectito) | 1 comments Ana' wrote: "[The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber]

What a story... the end took me by surprise. Didn't see it coming.
I liked how Hemingway described the hunting business in its entirety: encompassing th..."


Kay wrote: "Ana' wrote: "[The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber]

What a story... the end took me by surprise. Didn't see it coming.
I liked how Hemingway described the hunting business in its entirety: en..."


This is my favorite short story so far from Hem, the characters feel truer somehow, the end scene is fantastic, completely unexpected but realistic!


message 31: by Kay (new)

Kay Liz wrote: "Kay wrote: "I have to disagree about the misogyny - true, we have to read texts in their original context, but that doesn't excuse them for being sexist/racist/etc. Even if we like an author we hav..."

Liz, I think you misunderstood me - I wasn't talking about "good" characters in the normative sense, but in the positive sense. I want fully-rounded believable characters without concern as to whether they do good (normative) or bad (normative) things. And I wasn't talking about the particular story, but Hemingway's description of women in general. And it is because I like his writing so much, that I need to admit (to myself at least) he is not very generous to women in his writing.

I see there is a lull in the reading - is everyone as behind on the stories as I am?


message 32: by Marie (new)

Marie | 8 comments Mod
Yes, there's been a bit of a lull heheh - I've been away on vacation the past week, but Im back now! And Im only one story behind. I just read The Old Man - and well, I've just found the last couple of stories a bit boring, I don't know - they just haven't hit me as hard as some of the others..

I think I'll be doing a video talking about a couple of the stories I liked the best once we're half way through :) Are any of you guys (with channels/blog etc) also planning on doing something on this? :)

And how's everybody holding up in general? This is like a marathon hehe - and I definitely feel like its much easier to just read one story a day (like a 'sprint') than when theres been a couple of days where I haven't read any and then have to catch up. I think it might be because the stories are so incredibly dense - even though the writing is very 'simple' it just feels very dense and heavy (in the good way - laced with meaning and hidden elements). Am I the only one feeling like this? :)

So yes - I guess its status time guys! Let me know how y'all are doing! :)


message 33: by Silje (new)

Silje | 8 comments I'm a couple of short stories behind, but I'll read then soon. I'll write about some of the short stories on my blog.
A really enjoyed Soldier's home, and will write down some thoughts to night.


message 34: by Silje (new)

Silje | 8 comments And yes, I need to use time while reading - taking notes and reread :-) That's fun :-)


message 35: by Kay (new)

Kay Marie wrote: "Yes, there's been a bit of a lull heheh - I've been away on vacation the past week, but Im back now! And Im only one story behind. I just read The Old Man - and well, I've just found the last coupl..."

I agree with you, Marie. Definitely easier to read one per day than several at the same time... This is what I like about Hemingway - his style is so simple, and yet, he can portray so much emotion, from desperation to joy, in the simplest yet extremely profound way. I need to pause and think about each story as soon as I finish it, so it makes it difficult to read more than one a day.


message 36: by Kay (last edited Aug 23, 2016 06:20AM) (new)

Kay Now that the read-along is over - how did everyone do? Did you manage to read all? What was you favorite? Has your opinion of Hemingway changed in some way?


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