In Our Time

In Our Time Summary and Analysis of Chapter VIII


This vignette tells the story of two Hungarians breaking into a cigar store at two o'clock in the morning. Two men named Drevitts and Boyle drive up from the Fifteenth Street police station and collide with the wagon the Hungarians are driving. Both Hungarians are killed, which frightens Drevitts, but Boyles reassures him that no one will care, since they are "crooks" and "wops."

"The Revolutionist"

The story takes place in 1919 on the railroads in Italy, where a man is traveling with a square of oilcloth from party headquarters that states he is a loyal comrade who suffered under the White in Budapest. It asks comrades to help him along his way. He loved Italy, but he did not like Mantegna. He reported to Bologna, and the first-person narrator says that he took up into Romagna. He believed in world revolution and thought Italy the starting point.

From Romagna he heads for Switzerland. The narrator says the last time he heard of him, he was in jail near Sion.


The vignette tells how two policeman react to the killing of two thieves. One of the policemen is very upset, while the other has no feelings of guilt. Seeing them as something less than human, it is easy for him to downplay their deaths. The two argue about the significance of their deaths on this basis.

"The Revolutionist" tells the story of a man making his way to Switzerland. He goes unnamed, which suggests that he represents the usual revolutionary. He has no belongings but carries with him only a scrap of paper from party headquarters identifying him; this is the remaining material source of his socialist identity. He also carries a belief in world revolution, except that he was wrong in his theory of how it would proceed.

The story touches only briefly and vaguely on the nature of his suffering. Hemingway again employs a precise but very discreet style in portraying the impact of the war on this unidentified man. He seems very simple. The reader gets the idea that it would take a great deal to make this man feel suffering.