Relevance of Hemingway's Works

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Hemingway remains one of the most famous writers of modern time, since his works have not lost their relevance. The author touched a great number of important and burning social issues in his novels. They are still relevant in the frames of modern life, especially if to consider the contemporary political and economic situation of the world. Life experience of this writer was varied, since Hemingway worked as a journalist for a long time and witnessed a great economic crisis and the Greek-Turkish war, visited many countries, took part in the First World War, the expedience of which he later reflected in his works (Savage 6). Hemingway’s life experience and desire to touch reveal each problematic issue in order to attract attention of the audience to it, were peculiar to the works of Hemingway (Savage 6). Therefore, they are relevant in our times.

It is not a secret that the theme of war is still relevant, since the world is still being shuttered by the conflicts and wars, where people lost their lives, relatives and sense of life. The later belongs to the range of themes, to which Hemingway devoted many of his works. A Very Short story is a small novel about the person, who passed war and is unable to find his place in modern life. This is the story of the person, representing the after war generation. These people cannot find the sense of life and are lost in modern realities. This short story is extremely relevant in our times, where the after war generation comprises the biggest part of modern population. In addition to depicting people of the after war generation, whose recollections are very relevant, Hemingway pays much attention o the theme of love in the period of war. In his short book, Lover of Liar, the writer devotes the story to the recollections of the former soldier, who came back from the war and describes his love affairs; however, no one knows whether they were real. The relevance of the topic lies in the description of the person, who dreams to love and be loved, however, the severe realities of life prevent him from it, leaving far behind the cherished happiness. This story is compared with the novel A Farewell to Arms, devoted to the love story of a soldier with ah young nurse. 

In addition to touching the theme of love and war that are relevant today, there are other themes in Hemingway’s art that may find their reflection in modern literature. For example, in the story Bio and Broose, the author touches very significant sociological problem alcoholism, with which the major character faced upon his returning home. Although, each work of the author is a self-portrait, embodied in different characters, everyone may find his own portrait in each character. Thus, the novel The Killers tells about all stages of maturing, adolescence and feelings and emotions of the person in each stage. Deep and at the same time thin psychological moments can be found in the novel and depict inner feelings and emotional fulfillment of the person. Probably, none of the authors managed to depict these stages so vividly; therefore, they are still relevant.

O'Connor Journal Prompt

Flannery O'Connor is undoubtedly one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. She described the strange life of the American South with its often extravagant forms of religiosity. O'Connor's prose cannot be confused with anything: brilliant from a literary point of view, she describes the desperate life of beggars and lost people; Christianity as a cruel or empty hypocrisy or as pure faith and foolishness (Eder 12). However, despite the extreme tragedy and despair of its prose, O'Connor somehow manages to imperceptibly put her story into the Light of God; and the sense of tragedy and hopelessness of human life will grow into something that is difficult to define, but something, which is Christian in spirit. The family, depicted in the story A Good Man is Hard to Find is a typical American family that has lost its religious vision in life and confused faith with the religion. Grandmother, as a central character of the story and head of the family, is one of the most religious persons, who suppose that God is a lord and everything is in his hands. She positions herself as a deeply religious person, who loves her family and prays for their wellbeing, however, when it comes to saving her life, she completely forgot about her family and starts praying for her own survival. In this novel, O’Connor depicts the family that sacrificed religion to fear, thus demonstrating that there are no values, religion or faith, when one faces with the danger. Through depiction of the actions of grandmother, the author wanted to underline that real faith has no fears and the person remains deeply religious in every situation. Although, the family of the novel is depicted as deeply religious, O’Connor underlines that this religion is not real and does not comes from the depth of heart. Grandmother, as representative of her family, uses religion only when it is useful.  She is deeply concerned that faith is able to save her; however, she has lost real values and uses religion only when she finds it necessary (Eder 34). As an example, the author depicts her pray to God, when Misfit was about to kill her. It is used to demonstrate that God and faith become important to grandmother only when she faces with fear to lose her life: ““If you would pray” the old lady said,” Jesus would help you” “That’s right,” the Misfit said. “Well then, why don’t you pray?” she asked trembling with delight “I don’t want no hep I’m doing all right by myself” (O’Connor 19).Is it a real faithful and religious person? On the example of Grandmother, O’Connor demonstrates the family that has lost the touch with God and confuses religion and faith with the means to get excuses for their actions. Their vision and understanding of God are completely different from deeply religious.  

Bukowski Journal Prompt

Charles Bukowski is an American writer, poet, journalist, and supporter of the aesthetics of direct and gross ontological honesty, developed by beatniks, bohemian and marginal circles of America of the 40-60's (Harrison 20). He was the representative of the so-called "naturalistic"school. After an episode from school life, when the teacher praised the story of the fictional meeting with President Hoover, written by Chinaski (the main character of the novel, the alter ego of the author), Bukowski made an important conclusion for himself: people need lie! Lovely lies! (Harrison 23) Active unwillingness of others to see the unpleasant truth, the departure from it in various forms of social games becomes life experience for Bukiwski. It was reflected in his characters and determined the fate and the general direction of the writer’s creativity (Harrison 23).

Bukowski was famous by its manner to use language in his works. He realized that literature works are strong and influential not only with the plot, but language, used by the author to influence his audience. Therefore, the works of Bukowski are not deprived of rude, dissolute and sometimes erotic language. He supposed that it was the best way to make people read the literature works. As a result, the author was actively criticized for the use of forbidden themes that other writers tried to avoid in their art. However, Bukowski supported the use of rude and forbidden themes, since they evoked great interest in the audience. The use of rude and taboo language was the peculiarity of the writer. Although, he was criticized by many literature scholars for being too open and immoral, the works of the author were successful, since erotic, rudeness and forbidden themes were always attractive for people, as a part of their nature that is not always demonstrated to the public.

Taking into account that Bukowski has been considered person with a specific view on life and love, his novels are deprived of romantic language and sweet words that are always associated with the works about love. On the contrary, he tried to depict the nature of love and relations as rude as possible. He considered that it was necessary to show the real state of love affairs, without “decorations” and amendments. His famous novel A Lovely love affair is a bright demonstration of how profane and vulgarity accompanied relations between people and made them vivid and natural. This work has no romantic scenes and highly poetic language. On the contrary, it uses words and expressions that were peculiar to simple and uneducated people. In this way, Bukowski wanted to demonstrate the reality of life. The depiction of a trivial life of people, their surrounding and thoughts are presented in a rude language, used by people from lower classes, however, this is the peculiarity of Bukowski, who showed life as it was. He used many colloquial and vulgar worlds in his works, but they were not disgusting to read, on the contrary, they were perceived with humor: “I like your face. You got a good face."Not being able to say anything about her face, I asked, "You got any cigarettes, Marie?""Why sure, honey,"she reached down into that great sheet of a dress and pulled a full pack out from between her tits” (Bukowski 11). The colorful language served to demonstrate the level of culture of simple people and take it for granted. 

Foer Journal Prompt

Interest in communicative effects in art is great. The study of the peculiarities of expressive function of language helps understand how the author influences the reader and in what ways he communicates the emotional color of the situation.

Jonathan Safran Foer is known for his unusual manner of writing, as his works are endowed with a number of features that produce an indelible effect on the reader. Due to the fact that he is a contemporary writer, his works touch the most important themes of modern people: relations, war, love, economy. However, the peculiarity of the works is that the author tries to communicate with his audience through the course of the book, as he wants to know their opinion or engages them in the process of imagination. If one wants to write the story of his life, the works of Foer can be taken as a basis, since the writer managed to go deep into the soul of every character (Codde 242). Thus, in the story Extremely Loud and Incredible Close, the author depicts life and personal tragedy of a little boy, who has lost his father. This manner of writing can be taken as a basis for one’s personal writing about life.

Another popular story of Foer Life is Blind and Deaf is the so-called autobiography of Adam and Eve, who are writing about their life and sin that they have committed. The story is also about Adam and eve’s new life after their sin and depiction of how they see everything anew. If to take this novel as a basis, it is possible to write the story of two partners about their life in 30 or 40 years. It may become the demonstration of their new vision of life after 30 years, comparison of how everything has changed and in what way they have also altered.

One more Foer's story Here We Aren't, So Quickly can be served as a basis for ones’ own story about the maturation of family and people in it. Using the plot and idea of this story, in which Foer depicts life of one family from its beginning to a mature age, it is possible to describe story of any people. Foer wanders through the tediously frantic lives of a man and his wife, follows his emotions and feelings when they were given their only baby. The story is based of the examination and description of the life of major characters, depiction of their habits, events. The author creates the atmosphere, in which major characters are simply drifting in the ocean of life routine. This story may serve as a basis for the story of each couple, where people describe their life habits, events, emotions and dreams. I would depict the story of my family in 30 years, paying attention to the growth of children, their maturity, and emotions, connected with them. In addition, I would describe how my partner grows older and how our family habits are changing. This work will help save the most precious moments in my memory and follow the evolution of our relations.

Eggers Journal Prompt

Dave Eggers is rightfully regarded the breakthrough in modern American Literature. This is a young modern author with the difficult faith. His poor destiny influenced his art and literature works. Therefore, his works are a combination of childish-like prose with the adult problems. One of the most famous and interesting short works of Eggers is After I Was thrown in the River and Before I Drowned. In order to attract attention to the major themes, touched in the story, the writer used the technique of personification, which is very popular in short sorties. In this story, a dog is a major narrator f the story. This technique should make the book attractive and interesting to the audience of all ages. The beginning of the story does promise that the work will be interesting and captivating: ”I’M A FAST DOG. I’m fast-fast. It’s true and I love being fast I admit it I love it. You know fast dogs. Dogs that just run by and you say, Damn! That’s a fast dog! Well that’s me. A fast dog. I’m a fast- fast dog. Hoooooooo! Hooooooooooooo” (Smith para 3). However, not all critics have evaluated the story, despite Eggers was awarded an exceptional prize for it.

Speaking about the story, it is very short and it finishes very quickly. When reading it, one may seem that it has finished in the beginning and there is nothing interesting in it. In general, the writers, who specialize in writing short stories, try to focus more on techniques, but not on the substance. However, Eggers was an exception, because his major intention was to demonstrate the world through the eyes of the fast dog. It was the major intention and focus of the writer and those, who did not understand it, could not manage to evaluate the story.

Personification, as a major peculiarity of this story, was very effective. Eggers uses the dog to show the outer world from the point of view of the small creature, which has no meaningful value. The dog depicts the fast changing world from its perspective, as people may think differently and look at the same things in different way. What people like most about the story is its unbelievable energy and impetus, the feeling that one is swept along with the major protagonist, dog. The reader is able to follow its quick thoughts and observations, with the speed and enthusiasm. It was a particular praise-worthy feature of the story. It is difficult to imagine that any other character could have been used as a narrator, since dog’s perspective is the most appropriate and interesting in this case, although such characters usually receive low-brow response, since they do not correspond to the usual understanding of the narrator. As usual, people like works, where tragedy of a human is presented. It gives them the opportunity to emphasize the hero. A dog is not very usual character, which is not perceived seriously, however, its use in the story is very effective to provide a contrast between the vision of life of people and small animal.

Journal Promt: Literary Explication Assignment

The work of Flannery O’Connor A Good Man is Hard to Find is the story, in which every reader may find his own vision of the major idea. The reason behind the difference is a range of ideas that O’Connor wanted to deliver to the readers. One of the major ideas, hidden in the novel, is incorrect vision and perception of religion by people. Nowadays, faith and religions are actively used by people to justify many actions, which are not always correct. Unfortunately, nowadays religion has lost its primary meaning of purity and humility. People use it as a means to hide their real intentions.

The major character of the story, the Grandmother, uses religion as a major factor to divide people into good and bad. In her opinion, only those, who live by the principles of religion, deserve to be valued and respected. Meanwhile, those, who do not see religion as a basis for their life, are considered cruel and bad. In order to show her that religion is not the principle of division of people, O’Connor creates the situation, in which the grandmother sees that God can be perceived in different way and it does not prevent people from committing crimes (Piedmont-Marton 32). The meeting with the Misfit changes grandmother’s vision of religion and faith. She uses God as a means for salvation, but faces with other reality of the person, for whom God means nothing and is associated with punishment only: “You can do one thing or you can do another, kill a man or take a tire off his car, because sooner or later you're going to forget what it was you done and just be punished for it.” (O’Connor 89). These words of the Misfit contradict the grandmother’s vision of God’s grace, but she is ready to accept this truth for the sake of her life. In this very moment the readers may see the major idea of the book: religion is acceptable as soon as it is beneficial for the person (Piedmont-Marton 33).  

The theme of religion, discussed in the novel is crucial for all characters. Directly or indirectly, they are all connected with the habit of society to divide people into good and bad. All members of the family are under the influence of grandmother, who treats people, based on their religious values. It prevents them from living ordinary life and communicating with people, who are not so religious. The grandmother could not even think that the person, who believes in God, may commit crimes: “She had never given much thought to the devil for she felt that religion was essentially for those people who didn’t have the brains to avoid evil without it” (O’Connor 67). However, she changes her mind and becomes ready to accept the Misfit, when he wants to kill her. She becomes ready to accept his viewpoint on religion to avoid death. In this moment she forgets about her faith and is ready to betray it for the sake of her life. People are ready to adapt to everything, when their life is put at stake.  

Homes Journal Prompt

A.M. Homes is a modern writer, whose works are devoted to the important themes of modern society. Her shorts stories and essays demonstrate the view of the author on many important questions that modern youth try to answer. Sometimes, the author is criticized for her judgments about modern people. These judgments are very acute and too subjective; however they are very interesting to know.  One of the most famous stories of hers is A Real Doll.

This story is written by the unnamed young boy, who described his feelings to the Barbie doll of his sister: “I'm dating Barbie. Three afternoons a week, while my sister is at dance class, I take Barbie away from Ken. I'm practicing for the future."(Homes para 1). The prose of Homes is attractive and humorous. The make the story funny and attractive. The manner of presentation f the story with the language of a young boy helps Homes to underline that the problem of modern society is that people often confuse the real from artificial. The society has changed and now it is difficult to distinguish between real and unreal. It explains why the boy-narrator confuses feelings to the plastic girl with the real sensations.

The theme of sex is also presented in the story, because the period, when the youth become interested in sexual relations, is also representing the peculiarities of the age. When Barbie pleads with the narrator to have sex with her by the end of the story, and he wonders if Jennifer knows that her toy is a nymphomaniac, Ruth Quinlan believes there is the possibility here that Homes is commenting on society’s judgment of sexually forward women. The story tells: “ We fucked, that's what I called it, fucking. In the beginning Barbie said she hated the word, which made me like it even more. She hated it because it was so strong and hard, and she said we weren't fucking, we were making love. I told her she had to be kidding. "Fuck me,"she said that afternoon and I knew the end was coming soon. "Fuck me,"she said. I didn't like the sound of the word” (Homes para 27). These words, which are deprived of any shame and have the sense of obsession with sex, are used by Homes to show that this is a real nature of all modern women.  Although, the text does not contain any sort of reproach, it becomes clear that Homes criticizes women, although she does not offer any ways out, but simply states the fact.

From the point of view of Ruth Quinlan, Homes makes society's judgment of sexually forward women, however, it is not completely correct. The cult of sex is presented in modern society, but this is not generally accepted characteristic of all women. It is not a social commentary, since modern women are far from being obsessed by sex and relations and many of them are preoccupied by other ideas, such as participation in politics, social life and charity.  

Journal Prompt: Authors Speak

James Baldwin is a leading writer and bright representative of the period of Harlem Renaissance.  Life played serious tricks with Baldwin, since he was the only black American writer, who dared to announce openly about his sexual orientation. It was one of the steps, which might ruin the career of Baldwin; however, he was not afraid to let all people know about it.

The beginning of the XX century that was marked by the rise of the Harlem renaissance gave the impulse to the development of the freedom of speech. In this period of American history, Black artists, poets and writers started fighting for their independence and opportunity to openly show their opinion and tell thoughts. Baldwin faced with the difficulties to live in the society, where everyone was afraid to show his nature and speak openly. Many poets and writers failed into the disfavor of the authorities because of their attempts to go against the system. Many of them could lose the right to write, however, freedom was more important for them.

Baldwin dared to tell about his orientation, despite the attempts of the authorities to oppose him. Although, Baldwin remembers these years with fun, his works are the demonstration of the desperate struggle of the black population for the rights in the country, where everything was in the hands of the whites. In the last years of his life, Baldwin's poor health and alcohol abuse were the reason for the low quality of his books. Nevertheless, his authority as a public figure was not questioned either in the 70's or in the 80's (Wheeler 34). The identity of Baldwin was rather complicated and his art talent comprised of many facets, which were reflected in his poems.

  Although, many activists were preoccupied with Baldwin’s orientation and the problem of how it may influence the values of American society, the poet was more preoccupied with the intervention of the government. The problem of racial discrimination was still at the epicenter of the struggle of progressive figures in America (Wheeler 37). His multilateral ties with politicians, meetings with scientific and cultural figures of the United States demonstrated his readiness to find compromises for the sake of art of many writers, who shared the same views with him. Baldwin was devoted to the Negro movement theme until the end of his writing and social activities. But at the same time, in his numerous works, the writer expressed the bewilderment not only of the Negro population of America, but of all the mankind. His numerous interviews and works demonstrate that the poet was devoted to the traditions of the Negro culture and was ready to promote it till the end of his life. During the interviews, he openly discussed his orientation thus showing good example on how people must protect their viewpoint.  

Works Cited

Bukowski, Charles. The Most Beautiful Woman in Town. NY: City Lights Publishers. 2013. Print

Eder, Katharina.Flannery O'Connor’s , A Good Man Is Hard to Find - An Analysis. Berlin: GRIN

O’Connor, Flannery. A Good Man is Hard to Find. Denver: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 2005. Print

Eli. “After I was Thrown in the River and Before I Drowned”, Dave Eggers”. A terrific Friend. January 9, 2008. Accessed April 19 at https://aterrificfriend.wordpress.com/2008/01/09/im-a-fast-dog/

Homes, A.M. “A real Doll”. Barcelona review. 1990. Accessed April 19 at  http://www.barcelonareview.com/eng/eng44.htm

Harrison, Russell. Against the American Dream. Essays on Charles Bukowski. Santa Rosa, CA: Black Sparrow Press. 1994. Print

Savage, Dave. "Ernest Hemingway."In Focus Two. Eds. B. Rajan and Andrew Pearse. London: Dobson, 1946

Piedmont-Marton, Elisabeth.  An Overview of 'A Good Man Is Hard to Find.  Short Stories for Students. Detroit: Gale, 2002. p. 31-34. Print

Philippe Codde. “Philomela Revised: Traumatic Iconicity in Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”. Studies in American Fiction, 35, 2 (2007), pp. 241-245

Wheeler, David. “Sonny's Blues” by James Baldwin - A Critical Analysis. LA: Dog's Tail Books. 2011. Print

November 24, 2023
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