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The Writing Style of Hemingway
For Whom the Bell Tolls features Hemingway characters and tells stories about masculinity and the treatment of women. In this book, as in many of his other books, Hemingway makes extensive use of the so-called Hemingway Code. Information from various people and events in his life also influenced his writings.
Many people believe that there has never been an American writer like Ernest Hemingway. A member of the World War I “lost generation,” Hemingway was in many ways his best character. Whether as his childhood name of “Champ” or the older “Papa”, Ernest Hemingway became a legend in his lifetime. Although the drama and romance of his life sometimes seem to overshadow the quality of his work, Hemingway was first and foremost a novelist, writer and reader. This is often overlooked amidst all his talk of safaris and hunting trips, bullfights, fishing and warfare. Hemingway liked to be famous, but he also liked to play for attention. However, Hemingway considered himself an artist, and did not seek fame for the wrong reasons.
Hemingway was born in the quiet town of Oak Park, Illinois, in the suburbs of Chicago, on July 21, 1899. His father was a doctor, and Ernest was the second of six children born to Dr. and Mrs. Clarence E. Hemingway. His mother, a devout, pious woman with musical talent, hoped that her son would develop an interest in music. Instead, Ernest discovered his father’s interest in guns and fishing trips in northern Michigan (Lynn 63).
From the beginning of his writing career, Hemingway used a different style that drew comments from many critics. Hemingway does not give way to long-term and psychological explanations. His writing style is said to be informal because he avoids direct words and expresses ideas. Basically his style is simple, direct and clear. He developed a strong writing style with simple sentences and few adverbs or adjectives. He wrote short, clear dialogues and detailed descriptions of places and things. Critic Harry Levin pointed out the weakness of words and expressions in Hemingway’s writing, but was quick to praise his ability to describe action (Rovit 47).
Hemingway spent the early part of his career as a journalist. In 1937, he traveled to Spain to speak about the Spanish Civil War for the North American Newspaper Alliance. After a few months in Spain, Hemingway announced his plan to write a book that has the Spanish Civil War as its starting point. The result was For Whom the Bell Tolls.
Most of his early novels were narrated in the first person and confined within a single point of view, however, when Hemingway wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls, he used several narrative techniques. He used internal monologues (where the reader has the “thoughts” of another person), descriptions of motives, rapid changes of perspective, and generally a more relaxed style than his earlier works. Hemingway believed that “a writer’s style should be direct and personal, his images rich and earthy, and his words simple and powerful. Great writers have the gift of brevity, they are hard workers, hard workers and good artists (Magill 1287) .
For Whom the Bell Tolls is the most difficult and politically motivated novel Hemingway ever wrote. There are few graphic or light sections throughout the book. For Whom the Bell Tolls is an attempt to show in depth the world and people Hemingway loved so much. It was an effort to be honest and a very difficult war that was made very difficult by the beliefs that inspired it (Gurko 127).
Common to almost all of Hemingway’s novels is the concept of the Hemingway hero, sometimes known as the “code hero.” When Hemingway’s books were first published, they were readily accepted. Part of this recognition was because Hemingway created a character whose response to life appealed to those who read his works. The reader saw in Hemingway’s hero a person whom he could almost recognize in a dream. Hemmingway’s hero was a human being. He moved from one relationship to another, participated in wild game hunting, enjoyed cattle, drank heavily, participated in all the so-called masculine activities that the average American male did not participate in (Rovit 56).
Hemingway’s involvement in the war inspired him to have deep political views. For Whom the Bell Tolls is a study of a man who participated in a war that was politically motivated. But this book is very different from Hemingway’s previous description of heroes around the world. In this book, the hero welcomes the people around him, not just a select few, but the entire community. The organization of the people of this region is clearly expressed in the words of one of the sermons of the poet John Donne on the death of his best friend. These are the words from which the book takes its title:
No man is an Iland, intire of it intire of it self, every man is a peece of the Continent, part of maine, if Clod bee washed by the Sea, Europe is little, and if the Promontorie was, as and if the Manor of your friends or of you the owner was; Every human being, death humbles me, because I will be with them among the people; And therefore do not send to know for whom the bell tolls; It makes sense to you.
Therefore, while the hero still maintains the values of the Hemingway Code, he is bound by his bond with society. In the end, he finds the world “a good place,” one that is “worth fighting for” (Curly 795). In the face of death, Robert Jordan realizes that there is a great cause that one chooses to serve. In this way he differs from Hemingway’s hero of old. The insistence that the action and its form be placed on one person is still there, as well as the need for a character to control the action. However, the story is no longer one matador against one bull, or an individual against his universe. The man is the “weapon of the people” against the dangers of war. The book’s political narratives are not presented as “black and white contrasts, but in a series of realistic portraits” (Magill 491).
Although Jordan is the epitome of a soldier in his actions, he is also in control of himself and his circumstances to a greater degree than Hemingway’s veterans; they are driven to face reality and deep emotional needs. Jordan’s behavior in the novel seems to be a direct reflection of Hemingway’s, as Hemingway was also deeply affected by his own father’s suicide (Kunitz 561). Ironically, suicide as an escape from reality is a violation of Hemingway’s rules. The self-doubt and fear that such an act brings to the children of a suicidal person are well-known psychological effects. This is perhaps why the pain of their fear makes Hemingway’s heroes avoid “thinking” at all costs. Too much “thinking” can prevent a person from taking action. And without action, the hero is left to face his innermost fears (Magill 474). Death is also used by Hemingway at the end of the novel to resolve the main conflict set up by the story. The issue of death also appears in other parts of the book, such as when the characters in the story express their fear of dying during the attack on the bridge. Like other works after his father’s suicide, Hemingway brings his characters face to face with death. He admires people who face death with courage and without expression. For Hemingway, a man does not live a true life until he analyzes the importance of death alone (Brooks 323).
Contrast Hemingway’s heroes with his female characters. Hemingway’s approach to women in his writing is masculine. They are seen as important compared to men in his stories as absolutely women. Hemingway does not go into their inner world unless this world is related to the men they associate with. Readers see them as romantic or anti-romantic objects (Whitlock 231). One of the reasons why Hemingway had this opinion about women is how he viewed his mother. He believed his mother to be a liar and blamed her for his father’s suicide. “Attitudes that are considered interesting in the man’s desire for fame, and independent thoughts, insulting his greatness – became a threat to the woman” (Kert 103).
Hemingway’s heroines almost always reflect the image of a good woman in their beauty. But in their personality they appear as two types: the “whole-woman” who devotes herself to the hero and the “femme fatale” who keeps to herself and prevents the hero from being with him completely. The “whole-woman” is acceptable in Hemingway’s view because she submits to the hero. He doesn’t want any other life but his. By surrendering to the hero, she allows him to dominate her and asserts her masculinity. A “femme fatale” is often a more difficult person than “all women” (Lynn 98). Although he may be evil or not, he does not submit to the hero and harms him and all the men around him mainly because he cannot control him and therefore cannot prove his masculinity through him. But even though Hemmingway portrays women, he often places them in the same category as men. The heroine, like the hero, obeys the “Hemmingway Code.” He sees life as it is, even though he longs for other things. He is brave in life, choosing reality over imagination, and he faces death with determination. Almost all events have already happened in his life – the loss of a loved one, violence – that has given him the strength to deal with life in this way (Lynn 102).
For Whom the Bell Tolls “is a living example of how, in this day and age, high quality should be displayed” (Baker 132). A hero’s actions are very difficult, and For Whom the Bell Tolls has just that. The setting is simple and the emphasis is on the virtues of the simple people. These men are ready to sacrifice their lives in a conflict; they are unique in their bold and powerful works (Baker 94).
Behind the idea of the hero is the depression of the American people, the depression that came with the first world war. The emotional person realized that the old ideas and beliefs based on religion and morals did not help to save a person from the disaster of World War I. The result was that after the war, Hemingway and other writers began to look for relief. a new moral system, a moral system that would replace the old ideas that were thought to be useless. Writers who adopted these new beliefs became known as the “lost generation.”
“Lost generation,” a name that was established by Gertrude Stein and refers to the post-war generation and the movement of literature written by young writers of the time (Unger 654). Their writings reflect their belief that “the only truth was that life is difficult” (Bryfonski 1874).
Much has been written about Ernest Hemingway’s unique writing style. Ever since he began writing in the 1920s, he has been praised and sometimes harshly criticized. They were not ignored.
Describing Hemingway’s style in a few paragraphs in a way that will satisfy those who have read his stories and novels is difficult. It’s a simple, straight forward and humble style. Hemingway’s writings are not embellished because he avoids the use of adjectives as much as possible. He tells the story in a straight journalistic way, but because he’s a master at conveying emotion without embellishment, it’s very interesting.
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