in our time


Ernest Hemingway, der fik nobelprisen i litteratur i 1954, er kendt, feteret og ikke mindst imiteret for sin karakteristiske prosastil, dvs. en stram og kontrolleret stil, der på overfladen virker enkel. Men stilen er ligesom et isbjerg, hvor kun 1/10 er synlig, og resten er under overfladen; hos Hemingway gælder det især om at læse mellem linierne.

Temaerne hos Hemingway er ofte værdighed under pres (mænd - oftest - i ekstreme situationer, f.eks. i krig eller lidende under følgevirkningerne af krig); forholdet mellem mænd og kvinder (ikke specielt smigrende for kvinderne, selvom Hemingways holdning var mere kompleks end den ofte benyttede betegnelse "kvindefjendsk" måske antyder).

Hemingways historier handler ofte om døden, og in our time er et godt eksempel. Temaerne er vold og truslen om død. Døden er et uundgåeligt faktum ved livet, og livets lektie er, at døden må accepteres, konfronteres med oprejst pande og dermed beherskes.

Ernest Hemingway, Nobel Prize winner in 1951, is known, idolised and not least imitated for his characteristic prose style, i.e. a terse and controlled style that on the surface seems simple. But the style is like an iceberg with only 1/10 visible and the rest below the surface; with Hemingway you particularly need to read between the lines.

Hemingway's themes are often dignity under pressure (men - most often - in extreme situations, e.g. at war or suffering from the aftereffects of war); the relationship between men and women (not especially flattering to women, although Hemingway's attitude was more complex than the often used label "misogynist" may indicate).

Hemingway's stories often deal with death and in our time is a good example. The themes are violence and death. Death is an inescapable fact of life, and the lesson of life is that death must be accepted, confronted openly and thus mastered.

chapter 2

The first matador got the horn through his sword hand and the crowd hooted him. The second matador slipped and the bull caught him through the belly and he hung on to the horn with one hand and held the other tight against the place, and the bull rammed him wham against the wall and the horn came out, and he lay in the sand, and then got up like crazy drunk and tried to slug the men carrying him away and yelled for his sword but he fainted. The kid came out and had to kill five bulls because you can't have more than three matadors, and the last bull he was so tired he couldn't get the sword in. He couldn't hardly lift his arm. He tried five times and the crowd was quiet because it was a good bull and it looked like him or the bull and then he finally made it. He sat down in the sand and puked and they held a cape over him while the crowd hollered and threw things down into the bull ring.


chapter 3

Minarets stuck up in the rain out of Adrianople across the mud flats. The carts were jammed for thirty miles along the Karagatch road. Water buffalo and cattle were hauling carts through the mud. No end and no beginning. Just carts loaded with everything they owned. The old men and women, soaked through, walked along keeping the cattle moving. The Maritza was running yellow almost up to the bridge. Carts were jammed solid on the bridge with camels bobbing along through them. Greek cavalry herded along the procession. Women and kids were in the carts crouched with mattresses, mirrors, sewing machines, bundles. There was a woman having a kid with a young girl holding a blanket over her and crying. Scared sick looking at it. It rained all through the evacuation.


chapter 6

They shot the six cabinet ministers at half-past six in the morning against the wall of a hospital. There were pools of water in the courtyard. There were wet dead leaves on the paving of the courtyard. It rained hard. All the shutters of the hospital were nailed shut. One of the ministers was sick with typhoid. Two soldiers carried him downstairs and out into the rain. They tried to hold him up against the wall but he sat down in a puddle of water. The other five stood very quietly against the wall. Finally the officer told the soldiers it was no good trying to make him stand up. When they fired the first volley he was sitting down in the water with his head on his knees.


chapter 14

If it happened right down close in front of you, you could see Villalta snarl at the bull and curse him, and when the bull charged he swung back firmly like an oak when the wind hits it, his legs tight together, the muleta trailing and the sword following the curve behind. Then he cursed the bull, flopped the muleta at him, and swung back from the charge his feet firm, the muleta curving and at each swing the crowd roaring.
   When he started to kill it was all in the same rush. The bull looking at him straight in front, hating. He drew out the sword from the folds of the muleta and sighted with the same movement and called to the bull, Toro! Toro! and the bull charged and Villalta charged and just for a moment they became one. Villalta became one with the bull and then it was over. Villalta standing straight and the red hilt of the sword sticking out dully between the bull's shoulders. Villalta, his hand up at the crowd and the bull roaring blood, looking straight at Villalta and his legs caving.  


chapter 17

They hanged Sam Cardinella at six o'clock in the morning in the corridor of the county jail. The corridor was high and narrow with tiers of cells on either side. All the cells were occupied. The men had been brought in for the hanging. Five men sentenced to be hanged were in the five top cells. Three of the men to be hanged were negroes. They were very frightened. One of the white men sat on his cot with his head in his hands. The other lay flat on his cot with a blanket wrapped around his head.
   They came out onto the gallows through a door in the wall. There were seven of them including two priests. They were carrying Sam Cardinella. He had been like that since about four o'clock in the morning.
   While they were strapping his legs together two guards held him up and the two priests were whispering to him. 'Be a man, my son,' said one priest. When they came toward him with the cap to go over his head Sam Cardinella lost control of his sphincter muscle. The guards who had been holding him up dropped him. They were both disgusted. 'How about a chair, Will?' asked one of the guards. 'Better get one,' said a man in a derby hat.
   When they all stepped back on the scaffolding back of the drop, which was very heavy, built of oak and steel and swung on bail bearings, Sam Cardinella was left sitting there strapped tight, the younger of the two priests kneeling beside the chair. The priest stepped back onto the scaffolding just before the drop fell.  

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