Ernest Hemingway

A few weeks ago, I posted a flash fiction that has been attributed to Hemingway, even though that attribution is probably erroneous. So here is a short story definitely written by him, from the short story collection In Our Time (1924).

It’s written as a handful of little chapters, most less than a page. The whole manuscript is available here. I’m talking about Chapter 4, which is on page 24 of the PDF.


Chapter 4

WE were in a garden at Mons. Young Buckley came in with his patrol from across the river. The first German I saw climbed up over the garden wall. We waited till he got one leg over and then potted him. He had so much equipment on and looked awfully surprised and fell down into the garden. Then three more came over further down the wall. We shot them. They all came just like that.

This chapter, like several others, is based on World War I, which Hemingway fought in himself. The footnote for this story also states that, “Mons is a city near the French and Belgian borders. It was the site of the first major British engagement in the First World War.”

The simplistic nature of the speaker really emphasizes the horror of what just happened- as a German soldier climbs over the wall, they shoot him, and everyone who comes after him.

Notice that there isn’t much emotion in this story-the speaker just reports as things happen (called third person observer). This is pretty typical style of Hemingway, but it works especially well in this story.


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