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A STEP BEYOND
TESTS AND ANSWERS
ANSWERS - TEST 2
11. Hemingway used simple words, preferably nouns and verbs, and arranged them in rhythmic patterns that roll naturally off the tongue. Speak some aloud. He also liked to repeat words and phrases that produced a chantlike, almost hypnotic effect.
Hemingway believed that the best writing results when words simply describe the stimuli that produce an emotion. His secret was to choose his words with great care, using language that most directly represented the object or feeling itself, uncluttered with "tricks and mystifications." Count Mippipopolous says that the secret of making friends is not to "joke" people; that's also one of the secrets of Hemingway's successful style. Honesty was his keynote; he worked tirelessly to rid his prose of sensationalism and sentiment.
Hemingway compared good writing to the tip of an iceberg. He believed that if you know your subject thoroughly, you can achieve the full effect by describing just a small portion of it and implying the rest. You know from writing papers that when you know your subject well a few words can say everything. When a subject is unclear to you, you need to write twice as much to explain yourself, and the parts of your paper still won't hold together. There's no substitute, Hemingway believed, for a thorough knowledge of your entire subject.
12. Jake can feel love, but he can't express it or consummate it. Because of his wound, physical desire is a torture to him. His feelings for Brett well up in the middle of the night and are so painful that he can't sleep. (In this modern wasteland, emotions that should bring happiness, such as love, can often be the most painful.)
Brett once loved a young soldier whom she cared for when she was a nurse, but he died and none of her other relationships-with her neurotic husband or with ineffectual lovers-has satisfied her. Robert Cohn calls her Circe, suggesting that she bewitches men and turns them into swine. Brett herself tells Jake not to love her because she'll only deceive him. Love, for Brett, has become a power she wields. It changes men but leaves her unmoved.
For Robert Cohn, love is a storybook romance, like the one he read about in The Purple Land, a silly book about an aging Englishman finding love in a romantic country. Cohn has old-fashioned notions of love-he believes in commitment, for instance-but he's too blind to realize that his kind of love is lost among Jake's crowd of friends. Whether his blindness makes him noble or foolish depends on your own definition of love.
13. Many of the conflicts and themes that occur in the novel are reflected in the bullring and in the language of bullfighting. Mike Campbell, for instance, calls Robert Cohn a "poor bloody steer." Steers are emasculated bulls used to herd and calm the real bulls before a bullfight. Mike means that Cohn is less than a man. The true steer here, because of his wound, is Jake Barnes. And, of course, the drunken Mike Campbell is anything but manly. Pedro Romero is the only one of the characters capable of fighting the bulls (both in reality and symbolically).
The bullfight is also a "moment of truth" where a man's true worth is demonstrated in a life-or-death situation. Some stand back from the bull as they stand back from life; others enter the bull's zone and are rewarded with victory or death. The struggle between Jake and Cohn for Brett can be read as a bullfight, with Mike as the picador goading them both on. This struggle leads to their moment of truth, when both Jake and Cohn have to accept their ultimate failure.
14. Jake is being bitterly ironic here. If nothing else, you have seen that no love will ever work out between Jake and Brett, as much as they, in moments of weakness, wish it would. And yet they can't stop hoping. In a way it is Brett's final wistful hope that is their saving grace.
Jake's ironic phrase is also perfectly hardboiled-it recognizes how the world should be a place where love, faith, God, and aficion triumph, yet how, in their world, none of these things does succeed. Throughout the book Jake has been trying to look over a wall to what is possible, always seeing the better world on the other side. His perception of a better world is what sets him apart from the other characters, who settle within their wasteland world.
Its "pretty to think" that there is a better world, that they will find fulfillment in love, but all they have is a "pretty picture" of what will never be. Better wistful hope, however, than the utter helplessness of someone like Mike.