Essay on The Other 7/8

Submitted By XGNDY
Words: 1906
Pages: 8

The Other 7/8 Earnest Hemingway has always been regarded as one of the classic American literature icons throughout the world. He received two of the most honorable awards a writer could crave for, Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and Nobel Prize in Literature. Born and raised in American Midwest, expatriated in the post-war Europe, Hemingway’s body of work juxtaposes both American and European spirits and values. In most of his works, he portrays the disillusionment of the so called “Lost Generation” and their futile search for meaning in the wake of the Great War. Moreover, his personal involvement in the World War I enables him to create a significant amount of war themed short stories, which caters especially to the needs of war book enthusiasts. However, none of these above-mentioned facts defines him more distinctively as an influential American writer than his unique writing style does, that is, an extremely spare, straightforward, and understated way of writing known as the “iceberg theory”. Set against the elaborate and explicit style, Hemingway himself is firmly convinced that the dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. Applied to literary writing, he is prone to “get the most from the least” (Baker, 117). He largely condenses his depiction but still manages to give the impression that a tremendous amount is left unsaid. In Hemingway’s first novel The Sun Also Rises, the profound use of iceberg theory is illustrated and his distinctive writing style is fundamentally established. “The Sun Also Rises is written in spare, tight prose that influenced countless fiction novels and made Hemingway famous” (Nagel, 87). In this paper, Chapter 13 of The Sun Also Rises is selected to receive an in-depth study of Hemingway’s iceberg theory, which helps shape both the British and American literature that followed it. This paper aims to reveal the buried seven eighths and expose it to the surface, bringing to perfection the comprehension of the novel as well as Hemingway’s writing style.
1. Harris and the monastery Wilson Harris appears in the beginning of Chapter 13 as a mellow British war veteran whom Jake and Bill befriend while fishing at Burguete, Spain. Harris, Jake the narrator, and his friend Bill establish a special bond during their brief stay in Burguete, so special that on the eve of Jake and Bill’s departure, Harris is practically heartbroken and bid a painful farewell to them. He is firmly convinced that Jake and Bill are not capable of understanding how much he values their company, so he claims repeatedly “I say. You don’t know what it’s meant to me to have you chaps up here”, “I say. Really you don’t know how much it means. I’ve not had much fun since the war”, “Barnes. Really, Barnes, you can’t know. That’s all” (Hemingway, 142). The profound bond that connects the three veterans mirrors the profound intimacy World War I soldiers have shared during the wartime, given that the three of them have all participated in the nightmare of the Great War Their friendship transcends mere companionship and comes to represent a rather strong comrade-in-arms brotherhood. Harris’s behavior also indicates that the experience of war shapes Hemingway’s characters and their behavior in a more subtle way than obvious. The event of Harris, Jake and Bill visiting the monastery before the latter two’s departure is also among the buried seven eighths of the iceberg. Literally monastery includes a place where prayers contemplate and maintain their religious faith. Here in this context, monastery signifies faith in general, the deprived hope by the war. Harris has been intending to visit the monastery for quite a while but he never really takes the action. When finally the chance arises that he can appreciate the remarkable place, he is but drawn to a nearby pub instead. Harris represents a postwar escapist group. The Great War ruthlessly destroys their faith and…