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  V. Ernest Hemingway (l899-1961)


  His life and writing:

  Hemingway was a myth in his own time and his life was colorful. He was born in Oak Park, Illinois. Hemingway loved sports and often went hunting and fishing with his father, which provided him with writing materials. After high school, he worked as a reporter. During World War I he served as an honorable junior officer in the American Red Cross Ambulance Corps and in 1918 was severely wounded in both legs. After the war, he went to Paris as a foreign reporter. Influenced and guided by Sherwood Anderson, Stephen Crane and Gertrude Stein he became a writer and began to attract attention. Later he actively participated in the Spanish Civil War and World War II. In 1954, he was awarded the Nobe1 Prize for literature. In 196l, in ill hea1th, anxiety and deep depression, Hemingway shot himself with a hunting gun.


  His major works: Greatly and permanently affected by the war experiences, Hemingway formed his own writing style, together with his theme and hero. His first book In Our Time (1925) presents a Hemingway hero called Nick Adams. Exposed to and victimized by violence in various forms, Nick becomes the prototype of the wounded hero who, with all the dignity and courage he could muster, confronts situations which are not of his own choosing yet threaten his destruction. The Sun Also Rises(l926), Hemingway's first true novel, casts light on "The Lost Generation." The young expatriates in this novel are a group of wandering, amusing, but aimless peop1e, who are caught in the war and removed from the path of ordinary life. Hemingway's second big success is A Farewell to Arms (1929) wrote the epitaph to a decade and to the whole generation in the 1920s. It tells us about the tragic 1ove story about a wounded American soldier with a British nurse. Frederick Henry represents the experience of a whole nation, who is wounded in war and disi11usioned with the insanity and futility of the universe. In this novel, Hemingway not on1y emphasizes his belief that man is trapped both physically and mental1y, but goes to same lengths to refute the idea of nature as an expression of either God's design or his beneficence and to suggest that man is doomed to be entrapped. For Whom the Bell Tolls concerns a volunteer American guerrilla Robert Jordan fighting in the Spanish Civil War. Although fully aware of the doomed failure of his struggle, he keeps on striving because it is a cause of freedom and democracy. In the end, the manner of his dying convinces people that life is worth living and there are causes worth dying for. The Old Man and the Sea, capping his career and leading to his receipt of the Nobel Prize, is about an old Cuban fisherman Santiago and his losing battle with a giant marlin. In a tragic sense, it is a representation of life as a struggle against unconquerable natural forces in which only a partial victory is possible. Nevertheless, there is a feeling of great respect for the struggle and mankind.

  Hemingway's other important works include Men Without Women (1927), Death in the Afternoon (l932), The Green Hills of Africa (1935), The Snows Of Kilimanjaro (1936) and To Have and Have Not (1937)。


  1. The themtic patterns of his works:

  (1) The Lost Generation: It refers to, in general, the post-World WarⅠgeneration, but specifically a group of expatriate disillusioned intellectuals and artists, who experimented on new modes of thought and expression by rebelling against former ideals and values and replacing them only by despair or a cynical hedonism. The remark of Gertrude Stein, "You are all a lost generation, "addressed to Hemingway, was used as an epigraph to Hemingway's novel The Sun Also Rises, which brilliantly describes those expatriates who had cut themselves off from their past in America in order to create new types of writing. The generation was "lost" in the sense that they were disillusioned with the war-wrecked world and spiritually alienated from a U.S. that seemed to be hopelessly provincial, materialistic, and emotional barren. The term embraces Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, E.E.Cummings, and many other writers who made Paris the center of their literary activities in the 1920s.

  (2) The Hemingway Code Hero: It refers to some protagonists in Hemingway's works. In the general situation of Hemingway's novels, life is full of tension and battles; the world is in chaos and man is always fighting desperately a losing battle. Those who survive and perhaps emerge victorious in the process of seeking to master the code with a set of principles such as honor, courage, endurance, wisdom, discipline and dignity are known as "the Hemingway code". To behave well in the lonely, losing battle with life is to show "grace under pressure" and constitutes in itself a kind of victory, a theme clearly established in The Old Man and The Sea. Though life is but a losing battle, it is a struggle man can dominate in such a way that loss becomes dignity; man can be physical1y destroyed but never defeated spiritually. Obviously, Hemingway's limited fictional world implies a much broader thematic pattern and serious philosophica1 concern. Hemingway Code Heroes plainly embody Hemingway's own values and view of life.

  2. Hemingway's style:

  His style is probably the most widely imitated of any in the 20th century. He is generally known for his "mastery of the art of modern narration." Hemingway himself once said, "The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. Typical of this "iceberg" analogy is Hemingway's style. According to Hemingway, good literary writing should be ab1e to make readers feel the emotion of the characters directly and the best way to produce the effect is to set down exact1y every particular kind of feeling without any authoria1 comments, without conventionally emotive language, and with a bare minimum of adjectives and adverbs. Seemingly simple and natural, Hemingway's style is actually polished and tightly contro1led, but highly suggestive and connotative. While rendering vividly the outward physical events and sensations Hemingway expresses the meaning of the story and conveys the complex emotions of his characters with a considerable range and astonishing intensity of feeling. Besides, Hemingway develops the style of co1loquia1ism initiated by Mark Twain. The accents and mannerisms of human speech are so well presented that the characters are fu11 of flesh and blood and the use of short, simple and conventional words and sentences has an effect of clearness, terseness and great care. This ruthless economy in his writing stands as a striking app1ication of Mies van der Rohe's architectural maxim: "Less is more." No wonder Hemingway was highly praised by the Nobel Prize Committee for "his powerful style-forming mastery of the art" of creating modern fiction.

  四。 应用

  Selected Reading: Indian Camp

  (1) Theme: Hemingway's concern about violence and death by revealing Nick's feeling of perplexity, anxiety and terror over the misery of life and death.

  (2) Characterization: "Indian Camp" relates the story of young Nick watching his father deliver an Indian woman of a baby by Caesarian section with a jack-knife and without anesthesia to relieve the pain. The cries of the mother and the cruel death of the husband brings the boy into contact with something that is perplexing and unpleasant. And this is actually Nick's initiation into the pain and violence of birth and death. The reader is impressed by Nick's innocence and perplexity over the misery of life and death.

  Nick Adams is, when he first grows up, the early Hemingway protagonist, introduced to a world of violence, disorder, and death, and learning the hard way about what the world is like. Growing up in violent and dismal surroundings, Nick is psychologically and emotionally wounded and is later alienated from the society. The wound is a symbol and the climax for a process of the development of the character of Hemingway Hero; it is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual disgrace.

  (3) Language: Hemingway sought to endow prose with the density of poetry, making each image, each scene and each rendered act serve several purposes.

  Ⅵ。 William Faulkner (1897-l962)

  一。 一般识记

  His life and writing:

  Faulkner is the most powerful and eloquent representative of American Southern writers. American Southern writers mainly write about the histiry, customs, people and social change of the American South, a region that contains much beauty, violence, passion, courage and, finally tragedy. It was from the region's characteristics that Faulkner drew the material for most of his fiction.

  Faulkner was born in New Albany, Mississippi and raised in nearby Oxford, and lived there almost all his life. He left school in his teens and later studied as aspecial student at the University of Mississippi. Fond of literature, he was increasingly motivated to become a writer. In 1918, he enlisted in the British Royal Flying Corps. Later he travelled Europe and learned the experimental writing of James Joyce and of the ideas of Sigmund Freud. He died of a heart attack in Oxford, Mississippi.

  二。 识记

  His major works: Faulkner published a volume of poetry The Mirble Faun (1924) and his first novel Soldiers' Pay (1926)。 In writing Sartoris (l929), he began to see and feel the dignity and sorrow of what was to become his most frequently used subject matter. The Sound and the Fury was considered as the work of a major writer. His other major works include As I Lay Dying (l930), Light in August (l932), Absalom, Absalom (1936), Wild Palms (1939) and The Hamlet (1940)。 The Unvanquished (1938) and Go Down Moses (1942) are thematica1ly interwoven. An anthology of his writings is entitled The Portable Faulkner. In l950, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for the anti-racist Intruder in the Dust (1948)。 His other remarkable novels include Requiem for a Nun (l951), The Fable (1954), The Town (1957), and The Mansion(1959)。

  Of Faulkner's literary works, four novels are masterpieces by any standards: The Sound and the Fury, Light in August, Absalom, Absalom! and Go Down, Moses. The Sound and the Fury is his acclaimed masterpiece, an account of the tragic downfall of the Compson family. It is a story of "lost innocence," which proves itself to be an intensification of the theme of imprisonment in the past. Faulkner develops the theme of deterioration and loss by juxtaposing the childhood of the Compson brothers with their present experience. As a resu1t, the novel not merely relates Quentin's nosta1gic feeling about the past, or a Southern family that remains trapped within its past, but conveys a strong sense of grief over the deterioration of the South from the past to the present.

  The major concern of Light in August is primarily about the South as a state of mind. In this novel, different attitudes towards life - plainly obsessions with the past, with blood or race and solely concern with bringing forth and preserving life - represented by different major characters.

  Absalom, Absalom! is a novel entirely of the attempts to explain the past, characterized by involutions of narrative structure. It is immensely complex, for it is both a "historical novel" and a novel about history as an epistemological problem.

  Go Down, Moses is in a sense a companion piece to Absalom, Absalom! but at the same time another and very different attempt to handle the Southern reality of land, family and the plantation as a form of life. In this book, Faulkner illuminates the problem of b1ack and white in Southern society as a close-knit destiny of blood brotherhood.

  The best story to highlight Faulkner's concern is "The Bear" in which the view of the moral abomination of slavery and the human entanglements goes beyond history, to the beginnings, to the mythic time. In this story, Fau1kner skillfully emp1oys an o1d crafty bear as a symbol of the timeless freedom of the wilderness.


  1. Yoknapatawpha County as the setting:

  Most of Faulkner's works are set in the American South, with his emphasis on the Southern subjects and consciousness. They are about people from a sma1l region in Northern Mississippi, Yoknapatawpha County, which is actually an imaginary place based on Faulkner's childhood memory about the town of Oxford in his native Lafayette County. With his rich imagination, Faulkner turned the land, the people and the history of the region into a literary creation and a mythical kingdom. The Yoknapatawpha stories deal, generally, with the historical period from the Civil War up to the 1920s when the First World War broke out, and people of a stratified society, the aristocrats, the new rich, the poor whites, and the blacks. As a result, Yoknapatawpha County has become an allegory or a parable of the Old South, with which Faulkner has managed successfully to show a panorama of the experience and consciousness of the whole Southern society. The Yoknapatawpha saga is Faulkner's real achievement.

  2. The thematic pattern:

  Most of the major themes are directly related to the tragic collision or confrontation between the old South and the new South (or the civilized modern society) represented by different characters in his novels.

  (1) Faulkner exemplified T. S. Eliot's concept of modern society as a wasteland in a dramatic way. He lamented the decline of the old South and condemned the mechanized, industrialized society which has dehumanized man by forcing him to cultivate fa1se values and decrease those essential human values such as love, courage, fortitude, honesty and goodness. Faulkner held tolerance and compassion with traditional values such as serenity and elegance on one hand, and recognized the need to redefine and reaffirm them on the other.

  (2) The past and the present, nature and society are always juxtaposed in his works. Almost all of his protagonists turn out to be tragic because they are prisoners of the past, or of the society, or of some social and moral taboos, or of their own introspective personalities. By describing his protagonists the way he does, Faulkner suggests that society, which conditions man with its hierarchical stratification and with its laws, the civi1ization and socia1 institutions, eliminates man's chance of responding naturally to the experiences of his existence. Man, turning away from reality by alienating himself from truth with his attempts to explain the inexplicable, becomes weak and cowardly, confused and ineffectua1.

  3. Faulkner's narrative technique:

  He has always been regarded as a man with great might of invention and experimentation. He added to the theory of the novel as an art form and evolved his own literary strategies.

  (1) Withdrawal of the author as a controlling narrator: To him, the primary duty of a writer was to explore and represent the infinite possibilities inherent in human life. Therefore a writer should observe with no judgement whatsoever and reduce authorial intrusion to the lowest minimum.

  (2) Dislocation of the narrative time: The most characteristic way of structuring his stories is to fragment the chronological time. He deliberately broke up the chrono1ogy of his narrative by juxtaposing the past with the present, in the way the montage does in a movie.

  (3) The modern stream-of-consciousness technique and the interior monologue: Stream-of-consciousness technique was frequent1y and skillfully exploited by Faulkner to emphasize the reactions and inner musings of the narrator. And the interior monologue helps him achieve the most desirable effect of exploring the nature of human consciousness.

  (4) Multiple points of view: The employment of several narrators or narrative points of views to tell a story, thus making the structure of the book somewhat radiative. For example, The Sound and the Fury uses four different narrative voices to piece together the story and thus challenges the reader by presenting a fragmented plot told from multiple points of view.

  (5) The other narrative techniques he used to construct his stories include symbolism and mythological and biblical a11usions.

  4. Faulkner's language: He was a master of his own particular style of writing. Great writers such as Edgar Allen Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James and James Joyce all had a part in influencing Faulkner. His prose, marked by long and embedded sentences, complex syntax, and vague reference pronouns and a variety of "registers" of the English language, is very difficu1t to read. In contrast, Faulknen cou1d sound very casual or informal sometimes. He captured the dialects of the Mississippi characters. Most of the symbols and imageries are drawn from nature.

  四。 应用

  A Rose for Emily

  (1) The theme: "A Rose for Emily" is Faulkner's first short story published in 1930. Set in the town of Jefferson in Yoknapatawpha, the story expresses Faulkner's theme of the confrontation of the old South and the civilized modern society. Emily is in collision with the industrialized and mechanized society by clinging to the past and alienating herself from the modern society, which makes her a tragic victim.

  (2) Characterization: As a descendent of the Southern aristocracy, Emily Grierson is typical of those in Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha stories that are symbols of the old South but also the prisoners of the past. Firstly, she depended on her father and clang to his memory by remaining unmarried because of dominance of her father and his rigid ideas about social status, by keeping his portrait in a prominent place in her living room, by refusing to release her father's dead body for burial and by assuming her father's domineering traits ( She "carries her head high in her dignity as the last Grierson." ) Secondly, Emily was eccentric in refusing to accept the passage of time or the inevitable social change by refusing to pay taxes, buying poison and offering no explanation and refusing to cooperate with modern postal service. Thirdly, Emily demonstrates her deformed personality and abnormality in her relationship with her sweetheart. Her refusal to adapt herself to the new order and her defiance of the old order are not just pathetic attempts to cling to the past, but developed into obsession and homicidal mania by killing Homer Barren in order to keep him.

  However, it is important to remember that Emily, for all her eccentricities, not to mention her serious mental illness, is never laughed at or treated with contempt or disgust. She is seen first and foremost as a tragic human being. Though twisted by forces beyond her control, her struggle to assert her will even in madness, has something valiant and heroic about it. Faulkner holds tolerance and compassion for her tragedy on one hand, because she displays serenity and elegance in character; he partially condemns her alienation of herself from the reality which makes her tragedy inevitable.

  (3) Stylitic features: In this story, Faulkner also employed the dislocated time sequence by juxtaposing the past with the present. The story is divided into five sections which represent five petals of rose. Faulkner makes best use of the Gothic devices in narration to dramatize Emily's deformed personality and abnormality in her relationship with her sweetheart. Other narative techniques used in the story include the multiple points of view and symbolism. Take symbolism for example, Emily as "the fallen monument " is the symbol of tradition, the old South and old way of life, while gin and gasoline pumps, taxes, postal service are symbols of mechanized and civilized modern society. Rose is associated with love, but here "a dead rotten love." It shows Faulkner's sympathy or respect for Emily.


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