Ernest Hemingway and Katherine Mansfield were increasingly influential writers of post-war stories at the beginning of the 20th century. The First World War became a source of inspiration for many authors who tried to convey the mood of those tragic events and their consequences to the public. This paper aims to analyze the language means of transferring the post-war atmosphere to the reader’s consciousness in Mansfield and Hemingway’s narratives.
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In Soldier’s Home, Ernest Hemingway narrates the story of a former soldier Krebs who returns to his hometowns after World War I. A reader can observe that the author himself attempts to transfer his own opinion of war through the character’s lenses. In his tale, Hemingway starts uses different tones to portray Krebs’ life. In the first part, one may observe much description of Krebs’ surroundings and some realistic events (Kobler 381). Later, there is a heated argument transferred employing emotionally colored words. Eventually, Krebs decides to accept whatever will come, reflecting upon it in his monologues. Notably, the story is told in the third person perspective to let the reader plunge into the protagonist’s emotions and feelings. Hemingway’s choice of words is relatively plain, the majority of sentences are simple, and the author uses parallelism to convey reality and highlight the sequence of events. The author adopted a realistic form of writing; hence, there are almost no stylistic devices used to describe Krebs life but a rather straightforward recital.
The other story narrating the life of the war soldier by Katherine Mansfield is The Fly. Unlike Hemingway, Mansfield widely implements imagery, including metaphors, similes, rhetorical questions, and repetitions. The author compares Mr. Woodiefield to a baby to demonstrate his fragility; yet the comparison creates a sense of reality (Burke 71). Notably, the main symbol is a fly which stands for the man’s fate. Moreover, the use of rhetorical questions makes a reader understand the main character’s thoughts and intentions.
Therefore, by resorting to different writing styles, these two authors managed to affect readers’ consciousness and transfer the post-war atmosphere in a life of a regular person. Yet, one may observe a significant difference in linguistic device utilization. Imagery is the primary element in Mansfield’s The Fly, while there is a lack of it and other means such as metaphor or symbolism in Hemingway’s Soldier’s Home.
In conclusion, it seems reasonable to state that despite the fact that Ernest Hemingway and Katherine Mansfield presented different styles in their narratives, they managed to convey the post-war atmosphere employing various linguistic means. While Mansfield focuses on metaphors and symbols, Hemingway uses neutral vocabulary and uses descriptive elements. It is worth noting that Hemingway and Mansfield’s writing styles primarily differ in the use of stylistic devices.
Burke, Daniel. “Mansfield’s “The Fly” and the Vulnerable Boss’ Beyond Interpretation.” Studies in the Modern Short Story, 1991.
Kobler, John. “Soldier’s Home” Revisited: A Hemmingway’s Mea Culpa.” Studies in Short Fiction, vol. 30, 1993, pp. 377-385.
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