“A Very Short Story” by Ernest Hemingway: A Review

They loved each other, and were going to get married. Abruptly and without common introduction, Hemingway tells the story of Luz; a nurse who tends to injured soldiers and “he” the wounded soldier she falls in love with. The story does not start off with the usual description of the characters and setting, instead it begins with the couple’s decision to get married. They do not marry, however, because he left to America under the understanding that after he gets a job Luz will rejoin him and they would marry.

He doesn’t have a name, and the ambiguity of his character serves to fit the general description of a passionate courageous young man who falls in love with a nurse who was working in the hospital at the time of his war injuries.

Hemmingway does not introduce us to the characters properly and skips chunks of time between events. The character He leaves to America, suddenly we find Luz making love to an Italian major and she breaks things off with him- the American soldier, but never marries the Italian major in the end.  He never writes back to her, and we are left with knowing that he indulged in an affair.

The setting of the story plays a great role. Their love first begins at the time of war. They are confused, thrilled, and optimistic when thinking ahead. The temperature is consistent with their state of love. Just like in times of war, everything is fleeting and circumstances can change in a heartbeat. At the beginning they were in the hot Padua, they felt as if they were already married but they wanted to “contain” it. Later he travels back to America, far away from her. It cools down their relationship, and as follows the weather is cold and rainy.

In the end we are despaired as we see them slowly abandon their values; Luz, breaking her promise and giving up on a chance of true love and him sinking into a quick cheap affair.  We are left with a despairing feeling of not so happy ever after. Although the story is short and brisk, we can’t help but feel with the characters and wish things would have turned out differently. In “A Very Short Story”, Hemingway shows a gloomy view of relationships in the time of war. Their relationship is just like the war in ways, at its time it seems like it’s inevitable and overpowering but no matter how it ends, it does not end well.

 

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