Degree Granting Department
Phillip Sipiora, Ph.D.
Omission, Temporality, Focalization, Narrative levels, Anachrony, Embedded narratives
In the "Art of the Short Story" Hemingway elaborates on his concept of omission as it relates not only to prose writing, but to the special case of writing short stories. Hemingway develops two models to describe his short stories: on the one hand, he describes short stories like "The Sea Change" in terms of omission and exclusion, in terms of leaving the story out of the short story, and on the other, he refers metaphorically to "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" as an airplane loaded with story material which would be enough for four novels. Both models suggest a doubling of the concept of story---in the case of the story left out of the story, Hemingway makes a distinction between the text of the published short story and the underlying events and facts (the story), and in the case of the "loading" of "The Snows in Kilimanjaro" he distinguishes between the vehicle part and the cargo part.
This doubling of the story in Hemingway's short stories can be examined in terms of first and secondary narratives using GÃ©rard Genette's analytical method of study of narrative discourse. First and secondary narratives emerge as a result of temporal discordances between the order of the events narrated in the text of the short story and the chronological order of the events in the story. Thus the effect of the doubling of the story can be mapped onto the dynamic interplay of surface first narratives and submerged, fragmentary secondary narratives in the case of the stories characterized by omission, and in the case of the short stories with loaded narratives, onto the interplay between temporally differentiated first and secondary narratives.
Hemingway slides the temporal plane of his first narratives into the future and outside the temporal plane of important events which are then evoked by the characters as secondary narratives capable of affecting the surface dynamics of the first narrative. Instead of presenting the information about these temporally omitted or differentiated events in the discourse of an objective narrator, Hemingway relies on characters' discourse to evoke and thus recreate in a subjective, fragmentary way the story left out.
Scholar Commons Citation
Manolov, Gueorgui V., "Elements of narrative discourse in selected short stories of Ernest Hemingway" (2007). Graduate Theses and Dissertations.