IN OUR TIME
Published in 1925, when Hemingway lived in Paris and just began his illustrious career, “In Our Time” was arguably the most innovative and groundbreaking book to be published in the United States up until that time. Essentially a book of short stories, it is unique, both in its physical layout and its artistic content. Hemingway’s style, from the overall presentation of the book to the ways in which he constructed phrases, thoughts, perspectives, were seen as fresh and interesting. The stories themselves were met with a kind of lingering uncertainty. His style was described as an attempt to get at minds and souls and what goes on within. Hemingway could pack a whole character into a phrase, an entire situation into a sentence or two.
Hemingway’s short stories belong with cubist painting, and other recent work bringing a feeling of positive forces through primitive modern idiom. The use of the direct, crude, rudimentary forms of the simple and primitive classes and their situations, of the stuffs, textures and rhythms of the mechanical and industrial worlds.
In Hemingway’s collection of short stories, In Our Time, we followed a character by the name of Nick Adams. We were introduced to Nick in “Indian Camp” as a young boy, and followed him to adulthood. Through this we saw Nick develop and learn about some major facts of life. He did not want to let go off the past, but he knew it was out of his hands. Times were inevitably changing, and when times changed, generations were lost and lived only in the memories of those who experienced him. Nick was a character who changed through the effects of life and war on many different levels. Although Hemingway hardly mentioned the war, he used the stories to express different effects and emotions caused by the war.
The soldiers’ voices in Hemingway’s “In Our Time” demonstrated Hemingway’s belief that war in absurd, unpredictable, and unheroic. Though the recurring character of Nick Adams, Hemingway demonstrated how those who experienced the “hell” of war firsthand were often changed by war and spent their time after the war trying to live it behind and readjust to civilian life. This analysis will show how Nick’s character changes before, during, and after the war in these stories, from an idealistic, patriotic youth who considered combat heroic to a wounded veteran trying to adjust to civilian life in a way that will live his trauma due to war behind.
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