Hemingway Write Good

In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains. In the bed of the river there were pebbles and boulders, dry and white in the sun, and the water was clear and swiftly moving and blue in the channels. Troops went by the house and down the road and the dust they raised powdered the leaves of the trees. The trunks of the trees too were dusty and the leaves fell early that year and we saw the troops marching along the road and the dust rising and leaves, stirred by the breeze, falling and the soldiers marching and afterward the road bare and white except for the leaves.

As I mentioned in my review of A Farewell to Arms, Hemingway's style takes a bit of getting used to. The quotation above is the first paragraph of the novel, and now here are some graphs or something for you, because yikes.

There are 126 total words in the paragraph, but only 62 different ones. "The" shows up a full 24 times, and "and" accounts for another 15. Here's a terrible pie chart of all of the words:

So maybe I'm not being entirely fair. There are 43 words that only show up once in the paragraph. But let's say I combine words that have the same root, like "dust" with "dusty" and "falling" with "fell." Not a big difference, except that now there are only 37 words that only show up once. And here's the ones that show up more often:

And here's where I show off how bad my grammar is, because the last step was just to take out the random words whose names I don't know, i.e. anything that wasn't a noun, verb, adjective, or adverb. So yeah:

So I guess what I'm trying to say is did any of you read Hemingway in high school?

No comments:

Post a Comment