Monday, March 15, 2010

Blog Topic #1: Rhetorical Stategies

  • Imagery: "They were seventy-sevens and came with a whishing rush of air, a hard bright burst and flash and then gray smoke that blew across the road. The carabinieri waved us to go on. Passing where the shells had landed I avoided the small broken places and smelled the high explosive and the smell of blasted clay and stone and freshly shattered flint" (Hemingway 24).
  • Analogy: "I knew I did not love Catherine Barkley nor had any idea of loving her. This was a game, like bridge, in which you said things instead of playing cards. Like bridge you had to pretend you were playing for money or playing some stakes. Nobody had mentioned what the stakes were. It was alright with me" (Hemingway 30-31).
  • Simile: "I sat up straight and as I did so something inside my head moved like the weights on a doll's eyes and it hit me inside in back of my eyeballs" (Hemingway 55).

Hemingway's use of rhetorical stategies affects his style of writing. His style is portrayed when he chooses to use extensive details to enable the narrator to appear initially detached from the life surrounding him. This also allows Hemingway to paint a picture of the uncompromising war efforts in the readers mind and allows them to live vicariously through the narrator's experiences of World War I. Hemingway's style of declaritive, terse prose is also used to produce a realistic narrative, moving away from intricate plots and descriptions. For example, the love between Henry and Catherine is elegant but not romanticized and becomes more of a function of existence rather than the primary focus of the novel.


  1. I am impressed by your excellent interpretation of the style of Hemingway. It is unique to think of extensive imagery as a way to detach Henry from the reality of the situation instead of trying to appreciate the beauty. Now I realize that Henry was probably being so descriptive because he wanted to forget the war and instead focus on the scenery. I also found it insightful that you connected Henry and Catherine's love with the declarative, terse prose, and deemed it as an existence and not the primary function. That proved to me that Henry did not write the memoir for the sole purpose of the relationship, but to show how war ruins many chances of peace and happiness.

  2. I must also commemorate your intellectual analysis of Hemingway's usage of rhetorical devices in order to establish his style. I feel that due to the fact that the narrator is an American enlisted in the Italian army, that there is an automatic disconnection between him, and the war. Being detached from others, Henry would find himself in awe at the machinery of nature, and or war, which Hemingway exemplifies through his broad use of imagery. It is obvious that Hemingway not only tried to create a physical wall between Henry and the war, but also tried to create a mental blockade between Henry and the other soldiers. This is apparent when comparing the thoughts and comments of Henry to the other soldiers who he can never really connect with.

  3. Your contemplative analysis has given me a new insight to Henry's use of description. I agree that it is possible that Hemingway portrays every detail of the war as to make Henry appear detached and alienated from what is happening around him. Initially, I thought that this use of rhetorical devices was solely for the purpose of creating an image in the mind of the reader, but now I realize that it also creates an overview of Henry's mental situation and his detachment from reality. On the other hand, I also agree that his use of a terse form of prose gives the novel a sense of reality that is difficult to find in a narrative.