Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway

Simply Powerful: Hemingway's Technique in Writing Dialogue

"Hemingway’s art," Alan Pryce-Jones asserted, “especially his innovative dialogue, might turn out to be his enduring memorial as a writer” (Pryce-Jones 21). While there has been much criticism on the biographical content of Hemingway’s work, Pryce-Jones was one to notice the art of Hemingway’s dialogue. However, there is not much sustained analysis of this element. This paper explores Hemingway’s dialogue and in doing so an interesting detail has been found. Hemingway utilizes the device of compression in writing his dialogue, constructing minimal language, but somehow powerful meaning is generated. This is clearly evident in Hemingway’s “Indian Camp” in which he “for the first time employed the characteristic devices that distinguish his dialogue” (Pryce-Jones 21). Through a close examination of passages from “Indian Camp,” Hemingway’s narrative technique will be revealed to show his dialogue being simple and laconic, yet powerfully meaningful and artistic. However, the entire contention of this paper is not simply pointing out Hemingway’s simplistic dialogue in these works, but asserting how Hemingway uses it to make maximum meaning. This is done through Hemingway’s use of omission, indirection, and irony.


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