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Hemingway writes:. The branches were high above. Some interlocked to make a solid shadow on the brown forest floor. Around the grove of trees was a bare space. It was brown and soft underfoot as Nick walked on it. This was the over-lapping of the pine needle floor, extending out beyond the width of the high branches.

The trees had grown tall and the branches moved high, leaving in the sun this bare space they had once covered with shadow. This frequent use of the compound sentence form allows him to attribute equal weight to all the clauses in a sentence, rather than creating a hierarchy of logic. Badt writes:. Badt So too, Wells shows that Hemingway consistently writes in a way that emphasizes simultaneity and material immediacy. He hooks together series of prepositional phrases to form a connective tissue over the landscape.

In his book on World War I, Eric Leed describes some of the destructive, psychic effects of battle on war veterans like Nick. He shows Nick at a very particular postwar moment; he is beginning to relate phenomena and create an organic image of the world but still fails to register most details in any kind of pattern or sequential order. The patches of color or word phrases mesh closely and produce a picture world that is country. Nick stood up. Underfoot the ground was good walking. Hemingway is not describing a landscape here, he is making one.

There is an internally mimetic quality to the passage: rather than mirroring nature, it folds back upon itself to build a natural landscape with language.

The compound sentences are incremental but grow with three-dimensional plasticity. This is also what gives the story its lush effect, despite the apparent simplicity of the language Hemingway uses.

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In another very late painting of Mont Sainte-Victoire, the buoyancy we perceive in the landscape results not only from small strokes of different color patches but also from their situated tension. A detail of the same painting shows how brushstrokes move in a parallel and perpendicular fashion with respect to the horizontal planes of the painting, so that each patch and in fact, each stroke within it collides with the other, rather than merely stacking or lining up. Similarly, Hemingway evokes formal tension with his use of active verbs but also with repetitive prepositions that jerk and pull the prose in different directions, keeping it mobile and prodding the reader along.

Despite the bucolic setting of the story, it is rendered perpetually strange, especially when Nick acts within it. In the following example, notice how present participles and prepositions work together to deliver a new rhythm to the ear and to give the prose a prismatic quality as in painting:. Holding the rod far out toward the uprooted tree and sloshing backward in the current, Nick worked the trout, plunging, the rod bending alive, out of the danger of the weeds into the open river. Holding the rod, pumping alive against the current, Nick brought the trout in.

He rushed, but always came, the spring of the rod yielding to the rushes, sometimes jerking under water, but always bringing him in. Nick eased downstream with the rushes. The rod above his head he led the trout over the net, then lifted. Let us start with the last sentence because in some ways, it is the most peculiar. Also, by placing this phrase early in the sentence, Hemingway makes room for another, just four words later. The sentences here are nearly all top-heavy recalling the looming Mont Sainte-Victoire , for Hemingway doubles up on subordinate clauses at the start before concluding with a succinct main clause.

When spoken aloud, it almost seems natural, but in a hermetic way, as though it sounds right so long as we stay in the story.

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Yet looking at its surface, the prose appears disjunctive, repetitive, sculptured — in other words, highly formalized. It does even more. Most of the vignettes take up motifs of war, bullfighting or crime, and are almost brittle in their photographic mode.

Their language is distant, precise, and ironic.

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What is really interesting to compare is how Hemingway manages to maintain the mood of grim inevitability that haunts the other vignettes while accessing a great sensual intimacy with Maera, thereby expressing something like pathos. The language of the vignette is striking both in its materiality and formal experimentation:. Maera lay still, his head on his arms, his face in the sand.

He felt warm and sticky from the bleeding. Each time he felt the horn coming. Sometimes the bull only bumped him with his head.


Once the horn went all the way through him and he felt it go into the sand […]. Maera felt everything getting larger and larger and then smaller and smaller. Then it got larger and larger and larger and then smaller and smaller. Then everything commenced to run faster and faster as when they speed up a cinematograph film. Then he was dead. We are simultaneously watching and feeling what happens to Maera, going in and out of the canvas, so to speak. These word-pairs summon materiality while invoking aesthetic formality through their visual cues.

As when he plays with sentence structure and repetition, here Hemingway gives language a kick while operating within the simplicity of motif.

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This double vision recalls T. To see like the painter, one must engage the work on both micro and macro levels. This is a daunting task for the prose, like the landscapes, is curiously detached and unadorned. It must maintain a double-edged visuality, itself juxtapositional, and Hemingway keeps us close to Nick to see it. Here Hemingway explicitly invokes the visual process — each time the prose zooms in closer to the object; the reader is brought nearer to the fish and we see more as Nick does.

His vision captures irregularities — shadows that do not fit bodies, shifting planes of water, angles cutting through surfaces. Everything seems denaturalized, formalized, and yet, all the more real for its magnified sensuality.

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To understand this painting, we must grasp its inconsistencies and work the eye in several ways at once. Just as they hit the slim horizontal branch overhead, however, the painting changes. To the right are long slender trunks, their black paint oddly smooth, and only occasionally marred by a sketchy green. But to the left, in the upper corner, a strange pale confusion gives the canvas a somewhat unfinished feeling; white and green paint are distressing, they do not fit any particular pattern nor are they patched in like the density of the middle leaves.

In fact, they are stretched so broadly that they seem incomplete, only belonging to this painting with its dark center of damp green because of the horizontal branch that connects one side of the canvas to the other. This corner, along with the horizontal peachy brushstrokes below and the mottled stone bridge, catch the viewer off-guard and radicalize chromatic rhythm, so that the eye shuttles busily but also attempts to encompass parts into a whole. In fact, when seen from a distance, this landscape painting uncannily resembles an interior, with trunks for pillars and leaves for wallpaper.

The chromatic structure is so embedded and intense that it creates a hermetic atmosphere, bringing the viewer into him or herself as well as into the world of the artwork. It turned out that she had just separated from her husband, moved back home with her parents and was in need of support. Reunited, we rekindled our friendship and have not lost touch since.

Had I not honored that intuitive pull, I would have missed out on reconnecting with a wonderful friend and being able to support her during a difficult time. It was as if she was calling me -- and I was able to hear her, despite our long separation. Maybe you dreamed at night that your deceased mother spoke to you about where your missing bracelet was -- only to find it in that exact place the next morning. Or maybe you were at work and suddenly had a flash image, in a "daydream," of holding a trophy as if you were winning something -- only to find out, moments later, that you were being awarded a promotion.

Maybe you even dreamed of someone you hadn't seen in ages, only to run into the person the next day. Even though you try to dismiss or ignore these experiences, they continue to happen. It's normal, I've found, for people to get "spooked" about dreams and daydreams that include so-called coincidences.

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I know firsthand about the importance of not dismissing these psychic experiences when they occur; yet sometimes, even I forget to pay attention. Recently, I was on a plane, doing work on a new laptop.