Language

Style of writing and minimalism

It is impossible to work with Ernest Hemingway without mentioning his distinct writing style. Working as a journalist, Hemingway learned to write a simple, stripped-down type of prose where he would not describe important elements directly. He coined it “the iceberg theory” and argued that the author could leave out any element of the text and it would in fact strengthen the story, not weaken it. We see this in “Indian Camp”, for example when Hemingway never directly describes the C-section to us or Nick’s feelings about it. He only shows the tip of it all, meaning the tip of the iceberg. One example is when Nick’s father drops the woman’s bloody placenta into the basin which Nick is holding:

“There. That gets it,” said his father and put something into the basin.

Nick didn’t look at it. (p. 14, ll. 42-44)

The word “placenta” is never mentioned, and Nick is looking away, and yet, we can easily imagine what the bloody lump must look like or how it must sound when Nick’s father drops it into the basin. By leaving out “placenta”, He...

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