So, I finished the first half of the book In Our Time, which by the way was written really well. Now, I will venture on the read the second half. Once again I will break down my thoughts by each story.
That was a very short story/chapter, and it was a more serious one. Another common theme I have found in Hemingway’s writings is the use of young children, for more adult jobs. For example in this story a young boy was carrying government secrets on a train to different locations. I know that Hemingway had a rough childhood, so I am thinking that this is Hemingway’s way of talking about it. I am interested to see if this story/chapter ties in with any of the other ones.
Mr. and Mrs. Elliot:
In this story we see the theme of birth and death, but shed in a different light. During the story a couple is desperately trying to have a baby, but they are unable to due to the woman’s age. As the story progresses the couple continues to try, but less and less, until eventually they move to separate rooms and their love dies out. I find it interesting that Hemingway used this theme in this story, because usually when I think of birth and death, I think of a baby actually being born and someone actually dying. I wonder what inspired Hemingway to write this.
Cat in the Rain:
I’m not really sure how to interpret this story. Sure at first glance it looks like a story about a woman who wants a cat that she saw in the rain. But the more I look into I see many similarities between this story and The Three Day Blow. In both stories Hemingway talks about the feeling of wanting. Which i’m not sure if it is even a feeling, but Hemingway uses it as one. In this story a woman talks about wanting long hair, her own silver, and a cat. She even goes on to say that if she can’t have anything else, but a cat she would be okay. Which makes me think, is the cat a substitute for a baby? I wonder if that was what Hemingway was getting at.
Out of Season:
I am not sure what this story is about. I see that the majority of it the men were drinking and a few were even drunk, but why? At first I thought the story was about a man and a woman and their love, because the woman says she rather go to jail with her husband than be alone. But then the wife left and the story talked about fishing and drinking. I wonder what Hemingway was trying to say.
Cross Country Snow:
Nick is back, and is this the same George from Indian Camp? While reading this story it was easier to read, because it was actually sort of optimistic, which I feel is not common for Hemingway. Here I also saw the concept of birth through the waitress, and Helen (Whoever she is). I thought it was interesting that Nick automatically said that the waitress wasn’t married because she didn’t have a ring on her finger, yet she was still pregnant. Was the theme of birth and death being brought up again? I have no idea. Throughout all of Hemingway’s stories I definitely see the iceberg theory. I like his style of writing, because it almost lets you put your own ideas into the mix. But at the same time I hate it because sometimes I just want a complete story that I don’t have to figure out or guess at.
My Old Man:
I liked the beginning of the story, where the father was teaching his son about various things. It also seemed like the father was shielding his son from things that he was ashamed of. The middle of the story was the most confusing part for me. I was unclear of what exactly was happening. I was aware that the father might have had a small gambling problem, which could be what the men were fighting about earlier. Whatever the reason, I thought the father was still trying to be a good roll model for his son. This story included the theme of death in it. The son and father had a great connection, and then his father died from being trampled by a horse. I felt bad for the son because he had this connection with what seemed like the only role model in his life, and by the end of the story he is alone. Is this what Hemingway felt like, when his father committed suicide?
Big Two-Hearted River Part 1:
Throughout the story Nick was alone and camping. I think that maybe Hemingway isn’t only talking about Nick being physically alone at that time, but rather Nick being alone without a friend or love. I may be just grasping at straws, but I feel like Nick is searching for purpose, something more than just camping. Also we hear about another death, Hopkins. I think all the stories talked about death at least a little bit, which shows me that Hemingway is really caught up on the idea of dying. I’m interested to see what the second part has in store.
Big Two-Hearted River Part 2:
What an interesting ending. I was trying to make connections of what was going on in the book and what Hemingway could have meant. The part that really stuck out to me was when the trout was caught and kept trying to get away. This made me think of how delicate a human life is and if we were in a situation of life and death, of course we would try to get away. I wonder if Hemingway was subconsciously writing a story that showed what he thought of how fragile life is. Whatever the reason, he really knows how to get his ideas across.
Overall the book was really well written. All of the stories connect with each other, but sometimes you have to read them a few times to see how.