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Canary For One Essay

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A Canary for One
Ernest Hemingway 
The excerpt under analysis belongs to the pen of a brilliant, one of the greatest writers of the XX century, Ernest Hemingway. He created a new story, plotless, episodic, and stripped of emotion. Hemingway believed that the strongest effect comes with an economy of means, that’s why his style is straightforward, simple and. powerful, delicate and strong, the style of complicated simplicity. He avoids emotionally charged words, thus his vocabulary consists of simple, plain words. His major principle is symbol-building, special rhythmicality and a special pattern of dialogue. There is always an immense tension between the refined simplicity of his style and the irrational subject matter. “A Canary for One” as well as many other stories and novels of his end tragically which is the more striking for the almost casual dispassionate way of the presentation of the tragic event.  As all his stories, “A Canary for One” is built up on the tragedy of people’s relations, though it’s not revealed openly. It is written in a typical Hemingway’s style: precise, laconic, Implicit but concealing much beneath the surface.  In the story “A canary for one” the theme of war and the theme of tragic love are combined. Here we come across three main characters: the American lady who is returning home with a canary as a gift for her daughter whose love with a Swiss the American lady tragically broke, and the American couple who also is going to Paris in order to divorce there.  The title of the story under analysis is quite suggestive. “A canary for one”. The indefinite article together with the word “one” stands for the idea that everybody is lonely and unhappy. “For one” which implies “for anyone” alongside with the fact that we don’t know the characters’ names are the markers of generalization as this story is about humanity, about lost postwar generation which is quite peculiar to Hemingway’s style. “Canary”, i.e. a bird in a cage is rather symbolic for the lack of independence and as a result imposed ostentatious happiness.  The story begins with the definite article, thus this middle from the beginning technique immediately plunges the reader into the thick of events. We see a thorough description of landscapes. “Passing train” is the key words of the story as train is a symbol of life which passes away very quickly. It leaves “a long, red stone house”, the symbol of family life and “the sea”, the symbol of happiness, so the picture is soothing and happy.  Therefore, at the beginning we observe more or less pleasant picture out of the window. Then through the whole story the changes in this picture attract our attention to the gradual disappearance of happiness from the characters’ life which leads to the uneasiness and disharmony. The simple repetition “it was very hot” and the semantic repetition “no breeze” accentuate the abnormality of the situation. It contradicts to the reality as the train goes very fast and instead of the wind and freshness there is only stiff atmosphere and discomfort.    “The American lady pulled the window-blind down”, this action accentuates the idea that she prevents the narrator to see the sea, thus she kills the last reminiscence of happiness. And the compartment appears like a cage, it seems as if she creates the effect of imprisonment as she did it with her daughter. And the deta...

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