CT Journal:Choose a passage from 20-50 words from Hemingway and compare its stylistic features to those of a passage of similar length from Faulkner.
Hemingway: What did he fear? It was not fear or dread. It was a nothing that he knew too well. It was all a nothing and a man was nothing too. It was only that and light was all it needed and a certain cleanness and order.
Faulkner: He merely ate his supper beside it and was already half asleep over his iron plate when his father called him, and once more he followed the stiff back, the stiff and ruthless limp, up the slope and on to the starlit road where, turning he could see his father against the stars but without face or depth-a shape black, flat, and bloodless as though cut from tin in the iron folds of the frockcoat, which had not been made for him, the voice harsh like tin and without heat like tin: (Sorry, this is over 50 words, but it will help me to prove a point).
Just by observing the length of the two passages, it is clear that Hemingway and Faulkner have two very diverse styles. When comparing the syntax of the two passages, I saw that Hemingway liked to use short and simple sentences such as "What did he fear? It was not fear or dread," while on the other hand, the entire passage that I took from Faulkner's story, Barn Burning, was only one sentence. According to my computer's grammar check, Faulkner's sentence is considered to be grammatically incorrect because it is a run-on sentence, while Hemingway uses correct grammar throughout./Faulkner's unusually long sentences would sometimes confuse me as I was reading and I would have to read them many times.
Another way that the styles of the two authors differ is in diction. Hemingway had a way of keeping his vocabulary simple using easily comprehensible words, such as fear and cleanness, to get his meaning across simply. This does, however, have a disadvantage because simple language may draw the interest away from some well-educated readers. Faulkner used slightly more complex types of words such as frockcoat, making his story seem a little more interesting.
Hemingway seemed to enjoy using a lot of figurative language in his stories. He referred to nothing as if it were something. For example, he wrote, "It was all a nothing and a man was nothing too." In other words, he wanted to get across that nothing was actually something. Faulkner's style was pretty much straight forward. He almost always said what he means. One of the times that he did use figurative speech that stood out to me was in the last paragraph of "Barn Burning". He made me believe that the birds, the forest, and the time of day and year were there to represent something.
Aside from all of their differences, I noticed that the two authors had somewhat similar tones. They were both on the gloomy side. Hemingway wrote about how a person gets more and more despondent as they age and also about committing suicide. Faulkner wrote about what seemed to be an abusive father. I believe that the Colonel's father was abusive because of the way Colonel saw him: "...without face or depth-a shape black, flat and bloodless as though cut from tin in the iron folds of the frockcoat..." The word "bloodless" stands out to me because I interpret that as being cold-hearted.
These two authors, Hemingway and Faulkner, have very diverse styles, but they are each exceptional in their own way. There are some things that each one is lacking in, but then again, that is what makes their style unique.
For this assignment, I chose two passages, one from Hemingway's "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" and one from Faulkner's "Barn Burning." The two passages are the introductions to the stories. I chose this specific part because the introduction, to me, is where the writer begins to identify his/her writing style. In my opinion, this is the place in the story where the author gives us insight to his/her writing style.
It was late and every one had left the cafe except an old man who sat in the shadow the leaves of the tree made against the electric light. In the day time the street was dusty, but at night the dew settled the dust and the old man liked to sit late because he was deaf and now at night it was quiet and he felt the difference. The two waiters inside the cafe knew that if he became too drunk he would leave without paying, so they kept watch on him. (Hemingway, 1933)
Hemingway has a very unique style that makes him different from other writers. His style of writing has three main characteristics that have to do with his style of writing, the diction he uses in writing, and the point of view that the narrator of the story takes. In this story his style of writing consists of two things, the tempo and sentence structure (or syntax) of the story. The tempo of the story starts out slow. The reader gets a sense of being in a serene and calm place making the tempo similar to the feeling of the place. For example, ". . . now at night it was quiet and he felt the difference." To me this sentence paints of picture of a peaceful place and has a calming effect on the way that I choose to read it (aloud). He uses words that flow like a poem or a lullaby.
The syntax of the story is that he structures his sentences short and to the point. He almost makes a gesture to use short and blunt sentences to get his point across. To me he seems to take on the perspective of the main characters. In the sentence, "In the day time the street was dusty..." This image, in my opinion, could be portrayed a number of very different and very complex ways, but Hemingway chose to use the simple way out. Hemingway chose to take on his character's use of language and express his ideas in a simple, yet effective way. His use of his sentences makes the reader feel as if he/she is like the character. Furthermore, in Hemingway's writing, he chooses to write using small and often single-syllabled words. Most of his writing in this short paragraph use words that are exercised in everyday life and can be easily identified. He uses words as if he were talking to a child or young audience (even if his plot does not appeal to that audience). From these observations, I think it is safe to say that the narrator, if not directly one of the characters, is like them. He tries to make his writing like that of the characters in his story . His characters are not well-spoken and do not use words like "quiorly." They are just simple people in a complex story. Hemingway seems so facinating to me because he can use simple and ordinary words when expressing complex ideas. Its as if his ideas and the way he writes them were oxymorons.
William Faulkner on the other hand is extremely different; he
takes a different approach to those three main characteristics of
writing style, the diction, and the point of view that the narrator
of the story takes:
The store in which the Justice of the Peace's court was sitting smelled of cheese. The boy, crouched on his nail keg at the back of the crowded room, knew he smelled cheese, and more: from where he sat he could see the ranked shelves close-packed with the solid, squat, dynamic shapes of tin cans whose labels his stomach read, not from the lettering which meant nothing to his mind but from the scarlet devils and the silver curve of fish - this, the cheese which he knew he smelled and the hermetic meat which meant nothing to his mind but from in intermittent gusts of momentary and brief between the other constant one, the smell and sense just a little of fear because mostly of despair and grief, the old fierce pull of blood. He could not see the table where the Justice sat and before which his father and his father's enemy (our enemy he thought in that despair: ourn! Mine and hisr' both! He's my father!) stood, but he could hear them, the two of them that is, because his fatther had said no word yet: (Falkner, 1939)
When I first read through this long introduction to the story I first noticed all of the complex sentences that Falkner chose to use. He used several different types of punctuation to make the sentences longer and tried to carry the ideas over in the same sentence. It was almost as if he had so much to say and such little space to say it in. Based on this, the tempo for me was a little jumbled up. I couldn't get a steady rythmn going due to the complexity of the sentences used. I was really confused by his writing and it made my job as a reader more difficult. I found myself stumbling not only on the words but on the dynamics of the way it should have been read. This idea leads me to discuss the words that Falkner uses. He uses words that are extremely complex and that are not ordinary at all. I felt myself, as a reader being challenged to read and to understand where he was coming from. For example, words such as "intermittent" and "hermetic" to me can be said in a more comprehensible sense but Falkner chose to keep it complicated. His use of words were complex and hard to figure out, like a 1000 piece jig saw puzzle. You know that some pieces go together. Then you eventually can figure out theiist of the puzzle after awhile but you can't appreciate the entirety till you put it all together. However, the narrator's point of view was by far the most complex idea of all. He chose to write according to his comprehension (or point of view) and not that of the character. He chose to make the story as complex and challenging as he could. In my opinion, it almost seemed as if you were looking at a fish bowl. The reader and the author were looking (side-by-side) at the same thing, staring in on it, and not really being in it. Faulkner's writing to me is a complex and creative perspective on writing. He uses words from his comprehension and applies it to all classes of characters. I found this to be a different and unique way of writing.