EARNEST HEMINGWAY: CRAFTMANSHIP
Hemingway as one of the major figures in the twentieth- century American fiction. Hemingway will certainly be remembered as a great stylist. His short, concrete sentences, his highly dialogue and his desperate search for exact word which will express as exact and limited truth are landmarks in the twentieth- century fiction. His ability to transfer what he feels and thinks on to paper is superb. Many writers have attempted to ‘write like Hemingway.’ Few have succeeded. Throughout his life he did not let his standards for the exact word; the concrete statement and his concentration on physical world of things relax. He makes a scene so real that we cannot almost smell the pine- covered slopes or the surf in a sea- beach. Similarly, El Sardo’s last stand on the hill-top creates on the mind of the reader an impression not very different from that of a colored movie.
To many readers, the essential characteristic of the Hemingway style is simplicity and precision of word choice. That description, while accurate, can be deceptive.
‘Simplicity’ is not the same thing as short, grammatically simple sentences. ’ Precision of word choice’ does not mean as abundance of unusual words in order to achieve precision. And Hemingway’s style cannot so easily be explained as in his own often quoted advice (which needs to be taken with a grain of salt!) to write the story and then remove the adjectives and adverbs.
His fictional characters like, Nick Adams, Santiago, and Manuel are memorable major characters. Among the female characters, Brett Ashley, Margot Macomber and Pilar are his most memorable characters. While Aselmo, Dr. Rinaldi and Wilson are his memorable minor characters. Hemingway does not spend much energy on their creation. Besides these few notable exceptions there are few characters that one can remember after having read his books and laid them down for sometimes.
Hemingway’s plots are extremely simple. With the exception For Whom The Bell Tolls in which social and political forces are introduced and they play very important roles in the destiny of the main characters, the other novels have very simple plots. Carlos Baker calls the plots of Hemingway’s novels cyclic but if they were cyclic then there would be no insight obtained in the course of the action. It is felt that his plots are not so much cyclic as spirallic, that is to say, the hero does not achieve anything materially but he has obtained an insight into his own identity and passes in this unique experience to the world. The main character invariably grows in stature in the course of the novel.
More than all these Hemingway is one of the supreme spokesman of the twentieth century man. His vision of Nada- nothingness penetrates to the depth of the essential delimma that man faces today. Man is lonely and he has seen that the world is purposeless and that there is no meaning beyond what meaning man gives to his life. Jordan, in the last scene of For Whom the Bell Tolls is the symbol of ‘the lonely rebel’ whose despair is unrelieved by any hope. Love, drink, religion, community life- all are no good. It is a stark and bare statement of a stark and bare truth; and it is not easy to be reconciled to this vision of nothingness and meaninglessness.
At the conclusion of For Whom the Bell Tolls you will have a distinct picture of the places, the objects and the people in the story. There are some of Hemingway’s significant achievements as a craftsman. On these he has stacked his claim for immortality. The Noble Prize Committee acknowledged his contribution in the citation as the one who has achieved style forming mastery of the art of modern narration. It is felt that it is eventually as a stylistic and as a spokesman of the disillusioned twentieth century generation that he will be remembered.