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Ernest Hemingway, Men Without Women From The Undefeated To The Killers

1814 words - 8 pages

MEN WITHOUT WOMEN by Ernest Hemingway (1928) - The Undefeated - In Another Country - Hills Like White Elephants- The Killers

This short story reflects the courage, or rather recklesness, of a bullfighter called Manuel Garcia. As the title of the collection infers, none of the characters (which are all men) appear to be in touch with, engaged or married to any female. The setting is in Spain, which is indicated by the use of pesatas as currency and Madrid as a road to success according to the bullfighters. So, we may guess the author took his experience from his professional travels as a journalist. This tale is mostly about the way poor and unskilled men cope in a ...view middle of the document...

Picador : Torero on horseback whose role consists in annoying the bull and sticking a long spear (called “vara”) made out of beech into the it. The weapon is ended by a triangular steel point named “puya”
Coleta : also called “pigtail”, is a strand of hair worn by the toreros on foot which symbolizes their professional activity. Hence “Cutting the Coleta” means bringing an end to one's career.
Paseo (paseíllo) : Parade led by the matadors as opening ceremony of corridas Novillos : young bull used during corridas for young toreros (novilleros)
Muleta : name of the stick that the red cloth hangs from
Cuadrilla : Team of bullfighters consisting in two matadors on foot and three peones
Tercio : set of trials during a corrida, composed of three stages : picador tercio, banderillo tercio, muleta tercio
Matadors : leader of the cuadrilla whose role is to execute the bull
Peones : substitute preparing the matador and picadores during the different stages of the corrida, also acting as Banderillo and Puntillero
Banderillos : bullfighters who have to stick the banderillas during the second tercio

Having worked as an ambulance driver on the Italian front at the end of the First World War, Hemingway is unsurprisingly commited to the invalids' cause in this second moving story. The scene takes place in Milan, Italy, through its streets and in its hospital. Two men, the narrator and an unamed man only called “the major” are strongly advised by a doctor to work with the help of “machines” in order to recover from their injuries. The narrator appears to have a problem with his leg and his neighbour cannot properly use one of his hands, which is as small as a baby's. The doctor ceaslessly comes back to them so that they feel more confident with some pictures of miracle recoveries they are shown. But “Major”'s case would be likely not to be far from hopeless. The narrator is also acquainted with three other fellows. The youngest and smallest of them got his face seriously wounded and lost his nose. He had come from the Military Academy before seeing all his hopes vanish on his first day on the front line. One of the two others ought to have become a lawyer and the other a painter. They all bear the same medal as a remembrance of their wasted hopes and limbs, except the one who should have been a lawyer (who had two other “copies” of the medal (as he had been a lieutenant of Arditi)). The narrator acknowledges that no particular friendship bounds were ever forged between them and asserts that the only common point of their similar conditions had made them gather together. Then, the narrator finds out more about Italian grammar and admits that the language is not as easy to know as he thought. So he undertakes to learn with some help from the major. The latter's state of mind sounds as near depression as ever whilst he is informed about his wife's unexpected death. The conclusion of this story is...

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