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A Man's Versus A Woman's Mind In Ernest Hemingway's Up In Michigan

3736 words - 15 pages

The difference between a man’s and a woman’s mind, in Ernest Hemingway’s Up in Michigan

Many of the narrative strategies Hemingway applied to his war stories in In Our Time he had already practiced or applied in earlier stories not concerned specifically with the war. One such is "Up In Michigan", which Hemingway had originally intended as the first story of In Our Time, but had to exclude because of its controversial presentation of sexual relationships. From his mother to his sisters to his four wives, Hemingway could not help being influenced by the strong, cultured women who surrounded him all his life.

We notice, right from the beginning of his life, that Ernest Hemingway was ...view middle of the document...

In this story, Hemingway tries to tell the story in the way he thinks a woman would see and live it, during the story, he will alternate the two point of views, the man’s (Jim), and the woman’s (Liz), and he will end the story on Liz’s view.
In this text, Hemingway plays with the narratological scheme, the narrator inserts himself into the mind of the character he wants to make speak. In such a way we can read what the person is thinking, without the omnipresence of the narrator during the story. The first paragraph of the story provides us with a description of Jim Gilmore's arrival in town. By the way it is expressed, by the words used, we can guess that the person giving the description is a person from a village, it is not the usual narrator's speech. The lexical register of the language is not part of a literary discourse, the words used are not literary, but more of a spoken language. As we have a repetition of common words, often mono-syllabics, and by the use of the parataxis structure, of a simple syntax, without any subordinates, we get the oral language search by Hemingway, so that the characters speak as they would do in real life.
Jim Gilmore came to Horton's Bay from Canada. He bought the blacksmith shop from old man Horton. Jim was short and dark with big mustaches and big hands. He was a good horseshoer and did not look much like a blacksmith even with his leather apron on. He lived upstairs above the blacksmith shop and took his meals at D. J. Smith's.
By using "came ", Hemingway gives us a hint that the person speaking is from the village, and is still there when Jim arrives. This because he uses the word come, which means Jim is coming towards something, there is a movement coming from somewhere towards the village. By writing that he bought the blacksmith shop from ”old man Horton”, Hemmingway expresses a familiar way of speaking, it is an oral discourse, which implies that the person speaking knows the man quite well, and we are also spoken to as if we know this old man. As the text progresses, we get to know progressively the different characters present in the story. As in the second paragraph, Liz is presented to us by the narrator who reports what each character thinks about her, starting with Mrs. Smith and Jim. We get a masculine description of Liz, he, as a male, gives us his description, and speaks about what is for him important and most characteristics about Liz.
Liz Coates worked for Smith’s. Mrs. Smith, who was a very large clean woman, said Liz Coates was the neatest girl she’d ever seen. Liz had good legs and always wore clean gingham aprons and Jim noticed that her hair was always neat behind. He liked her face because it was so jolly but he never thought about her.
Jim starts his description of Liz by saying that she has “good legs”! As if we could reduce her to only a pair of “good legs”! Such a statement indicates that Jim is first of all attracted by Liz’s physical features, the...

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