Bitterness & Morbidity in Hemingway’s Writings

Two significant recurrences in several of the stories in Hemingway’s “In Our Time”, are a certain bitter, sarcastic tone and also a distinct morbidity. Take for instance the last paragraph in “On the Quai at Smyrna”: “The Greeks were nice chaps too. When they evacuated they had all their baggage animals they couldn’t take off with them so they just broke their forelegs and dumped them into the shallow water. All those mules with their forelegs broken pushed over into the shallow water. It was all a pleasant business. My word yes a most pleasant business” (12).

Hemingway is very obviously sarcastic in calling the Greeks “nice chaps” and the morbidity is evident in the description of the cruel treatment of the animals. This morbidity can again be seen in “Indian Camp” when the blanket is pulled off the Indian only to find he killed himself during his wife’s labor (18).

Hemingway, Ernest. In Our Time. New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1958. Print.