Spaces and Sexuality in Ernest Hemingway’s “A Very Short Story”
Anupam Kamal Sen
Abstract: Ernest Hemingway is an influential writer of twentieth-century American literature. His personal experiences and involvement in the First World War have somehow emerged in many of his major works. “A Very Short Story,” published as a chapter in the 1924 Paris edition titled In Our Time, covers the same underlying war dimensions found abundantly in his other works. Despite the narrative brevity of it, the two page story might present a vast cartographic experience for the readers who, along with the characters, can travel from one place to another. All spaces – both public and private – are so fleetingly transiting here that they altogether generate a fragmentary vision of the war history. The story is centeredaround a nurse named Luz who has developed a romantic relationship with an unnamed soldier during World War I. The major concerns of the text – the war realities and aftermath of the psycho-physical struggle of these two individuals within the spatio-temporal settings – facilitate an introspective look into the text. The text particularly deals with a variety of spaces within the narrative; for example, some major cities of two countries – Italy and America. These spaces – interior and exterior – play a significant role to form a viable textual understanding because they construct the background of the protagonists’ brief romance and the following submersion into a diseased and depressed sexuality. From this perspective, the paper will attempt to discuss the intertwined functionality of spaces and sexuality in this text of Hemingway’s.
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Published in 2017