In I then went on to explain that
In Our Time: ReviewHalf-way through reading Hemmingway’s collection In Our Time I was interruptedby my roommate, George.
He wanted to know how I liked the story. He seems to bevery impressed that I’m reading Hemmingway. I explained to him that it was, infact, not one story, but a collection of short stories. He asked if they had acommon theme or not, and I found it difficult to answer. “Yeas and no,” I said.
I then went on to explain that although one character, Nick, appearedoccasionally, the stories didn’t flow as one large story. “It’s sort of like apainting,” I told him, “If you could pick out any one individual brush-strokeand study it, it would be meaningless. But if you pull back and see all thebrush-strokes, you can view the painting in its entirety.” He thought this wasvery wise and went away, contented that I was a literate genius.Myself, I didn’t really know what to gather from the stories. I’ve neverhonestly read any Hemmingway previously.
I’ve started to read The Sun Also Risesabout ten times and gotten waylaid by Batman, Robert B. Parker, and the likeeach time. I think I read The Old Man and the Sea ages ago in high school, butit was so long ago that it has slipped completely from my memory.
He is one ofthose authors that I always connect with my father and his college years forsome reason, although I’m not entirely sure why. I’ve always wanted to readHemmingway, but I’ve always wanted to read all of Shakespeare, Homer, and Eliot,too.The edition I’m reading has the short stories separated by “Chapters” which doand don’t tell a story. The “Chapters” strongly remind me of Pink Floyd’s TheWall. I was also surprised at how simple it is to read them. They are perfectexamples of how Poe defined the short story: quick, (sometimes) powerful, andwritten to evoke one feeling. After reading The End of Something, for example, Iwas struck by how easily Hemmingway made me sad.
The ending to A Very ShortStory was pure torture. All the stories are simply constructed, no superfluouswords, no extra images to clutter the feeling. They seem to be written withStrunk and White’s Elements of Style in mind. After not one of them was Iwanting for more. Each was a universe unto itself. Out of Season was difficultbecause I wasn’t sure of how it made me feel, almost as if it was beyond me tounderstand what was happening to the characters and therefore I wasn’t supposedto have read it.I enjoyed reading In Our Time, sitting on a float in a pool in the sun.
Thewhole time, though, I was worried about what sort of “response” I was having toeach story. I think it clouded my mind while I was reading and I must try toavoid that. If I had simply picked the book from a shelf and read it on a summerday, I think my responses would have been subtly different, although I’m sure Idon’t know in what way. I am never sure what kind of “response” a professor islooking for in these “response” papers, or how formal they should be, but thisis obviously the first of many and I will learn from your response to it.