Sunday, March 1, 2009
Haunted by Hemingway
I love Earnest Hemingway, I see his hunger for God and meaning (ultimately unfulfilled) all over his stuff, and I truly love the way he writes, straightforward and tough. I pick up his work from time to time, especially when I’m in the mood for tragedy.
So here is Chapter VII, from his short stories:
While the bombardment was knocking the trench to pieces at Fossalta, he lay very flat and sweated and prayed oh Jesus Christ get me out of here. Dear Jesus please get me out. Christ please please please Christ. If you’ll only keep me from getting killed I’ll do anything you say. I believe in you and I’ll tell every one in the world that you are the only one that matters. Please please dear Jesus. The shelling moved further up the line. We went to work on the trench and in the morning the sun came up and the day was hot and muggy and cheerful and quiet. The next night back at Mestre he did not tell the girl he went upstairs with at the Villa Rossa about Jesus. And he never told anybody. –Earnest Hemingway, The Short Stories, Chapter VII, pp 143
Would you help me compile a nuanced list of how this lands as tragedy? I started a list, and then thought I’d ask instead…how do you see this as tragic?