Ernest Hemingway: Short Stories

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Characters: Uncle George
Nick
Nick’s father- doctor
Young Indian woman
Young Indian woman’s husband
+ Few another Indians

Plot: In one Indian Camp a young Indian lady was going to have a baby. Her childbirth was very difficult, so for the reason the doctor came to the camp to help her. He came with his son Nick and another man- Uncle George. The childbirth was so complicated, that the doctor had to perform an operation. Doctor was doing Caesarean with only jack-knife and sewing it up with nine-foot. The baby was born health and it was a little boy. The young Indian mother was also all right, but her husband probably didn’t manage the situation and he committed a suicide- he cut his throat from ear to ear with a razor. During the operation doctor explained all facts of childbirth to his son Nick. When he found the dead Indian man on his bunk, he didn’t want Nick to see that view, but it was already late. Nick didn’t understand why did he kill himself.

The plot of the story is simple and easy understandable and all the facts about childbirth are authentic. Author uses here direct speech, descriptions of surroundings and childbirth and also some original similes.

“He was feeling exalted and talkative as football players are in the dressing room after a game.”

HILLS LIKE WHITE ELEPHANTS

Characters: American
The girl called Jig
Local woman- waitress


Plot: The story took place in the valley of the Ebro, Spain. The American couple was sitting on a railway station and waiting for their train to Barcelona. As they’re sitting and waiting, there were drinking beer and another alcoholic drink of local produce called Anis del Toro. They were talking about abortion, which the young woman was going to do. It seemed that the girl wasn’t sure about he decision to do it, but the American had no doubts. He was somehow discreetly trying to persuade her about rightness of the surgical procedure. He said that it was really an awfully simple operation; moreover it wasn’t really an operation at all. The American asserted that she doesn’t have to do it if she doesn’t want to but in his narration was quite obvious that he would be more satisfied, if she did it. In the end of story it wasn’t certain whether she was persuaded or not.
In this short story author deals with actual problem of that age- interruption. The short story is a bit more demanding for reader. The point isn’t evident at the first sight, so it is essential to read it more than once. Author uses here direct speech, mostly very vivid dialogues. The dialogues are supplemented with some Spanish words while the story takes place in Spain.
“-Lets drink beer. -Dos cervezas, - the man said into the curtain.”

CAT IN THE RAIN

Characters: American wife
Her husband- George
Italian maid
Hotelkeeper

Plot: The American matrimonially couple was resting in a hotel in Italy. The man George was reading a book, the woman was looking out of the window. It was raining. As she was looking out of the window she suddenly saw a kitty. This cat was crouched under the table, trying to keep herself dry. The woman felt sorry for the cat, so she decided to go out and took the kitty to their hotel room. As she was going downstairs, the hotelkeeper noticed her, therefore he sent hotel maid with umbrella after the woman. She was crossing the square and when she was on that right place there was only the table, the cat was gone. The American woman was disappointed and she returned to the hotel. Her husband was still reading. She was trying to talk to him but he rarely exhibits an interest, while he just wanted to read his book. The woman was sad and she longed for long hair, her own table with her own silver, candles and for the kitty all above. Maybe the meaning of this was that the couple couldn’t have children. The man was coped with that, but the woman not. She needed someone she could worry about. And if she couldn’t have baby she wanted to have a kitty to sit on her lap and purr when she strokes her. The story ended with arrival of the maid with small cat in her arms, which she dedicates to the woman.
While the plot of the story is inserted in Italy, author once again uses in narration Italian words. The plot is easy understandable, simple and quite fast.
A CLEAN, WELL-LIGHTED PLACE

Characters: The old deaf man
Younger hurried waiter
Older unhurried waiter
Barman

Plot: The most of the story took place in clean, well-lighted pleasant café, which is probably situated somewhere in Spain, or another similar country, where the currency is peseta. It was the nighttime and the café was almost empty. Just one old deaf man was sitting there and drinking his brandy. Except him, there were only two waiters, who were looking after him in order to not get very drunk, because in that case he would leave the café without paying. These two waiters were holding a conversation. Firstly about the old man, about his reason for staying all the nights in that café, why did he want to commit suicide the last week and so on. In some time the old man, who by the way liked to sit in café during night because he was deaf and at night it was quiet and he felt the difference, paid for his drinks and left the café. Meanwhile the conversation turned to lives of waiters. The younger waiter wanted the deaf man to leave the cafe in order to go home. He wanted to go to bed and he was looking forward to his wife. The other waiter was unhurried, he liked the nightlife in the café. He understood old man’s reasons for staying in the café. As he was conversing with his colleague, he found that he was somehow useless man. He said that the younger waiter had everything: youth, confidence, and a job; but on the contrary he lacked everything but work. Both waiters left the café. One went home, the other went to another bar, had a drink there and meditated about his aimless life, he thought about himself as about such a nada. By the end of story he came home with explanation that his problem is probably only insomnia and many must have it.
A Clean, Well-lighted Place is quite interesting story with remarkable point and idea. But on the other hand I didn’t like one part of it in concrete, as I didn’t understand it at all:
“Some lived in it and never felt it but he knew it all was nada y pues nada y nada y pues nada. Our nada who art in nada, nada be thy name thy kingdom nada thy will be nada in nada as it is in nada. Give us this nada our daily nada and nada us our nada as we nada our nadas and nada us not into nada but deliver us from nada; pues nada.”
But I suppose the author told the same idea with a lot understandable sentence in the text before:
“It was all a nothing and a man was nothing too.”