The short stories “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” and “The Short Happy Life of Francis Mocomber” were both written by world renowned author Ernest Hemingway. The two stories are written completely unrelated to each other; however, both stories have vast similarities in the time and place in which they take place. Hemingway is a writer that is very methodical in his word choices. When reading these two stories a second time the reader finds considerable differences in the writing style the author uses in each story. To demonstrate, three sentences from each story will be compared and contrasted to show the differences in word usage, word connotation, and to find which story is written better. The initial pair of these sentences to be looked at are, “A fourth planed down, to run quick-legged and then waddle slowly toward the others,” from the short story “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” and “On the far bank of the stream Macomber could see, above the trees, vultures circling and plummeting down,” from the story “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.” The subsequent couple of sentences are “’You Bitch,’ he said,” from the “Snows of Kilimanjaro” and “’Why not let up on the bitchery just a little, Margot,’ Macomber said, cutting the eland steak and putting some mashed potato, gravy and carrot on the down-turned fork that tined through the piece of meat.” Finally, the third set of sentences are “She shot very well this good, rich bitch, this kindly destroyer of his talent,” from the story “Snows of Kilimanjaro” and “’That was a good shot,’ Wilson said,” from the story, “A Short Happy Life.”
The first sentence to be analyzed is, “A fourth planed down, to run quick-legged and then waddle slowly toward the others,” from the short story “The Snows of Kilimanjaro.” In this sentence Hemingway is describing the actions of a vulture landing. When compared with its corresponding sentence from the short story “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” “On the far bank of the stream Macomber could see, above the trees, vultures circling and plummeting down,” the reader can see similarities in the two sentences. Both sentences have to do with vultures flying and landing. However, there is a significant difference in the author’s word usage in each. In the first sentence, the word “planed” describes the vultures dec...
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...” is an adjective, describing the noun “shot.” Notice that the word “shot” is used in different manners. In the first sentence, “shot” is an action, a verb, where in the second sentence “shot” is a noun.
The second sentence is the better than the first. The first sentence is cluttered with descriptive words leaving each word with less value. In the second sentence the word “good” is the focus of the sentence making it a better defined and more coherent sentence. When compared these two sentences are alike only in their differences, for example the meaning of the word “shot” in the first sentence and the word “shot” in the second sentence are the same words with different perspectives.
In conclusion the short story, “The Short Happy Life of Francis Mocomber” is the better written of the two short stories by Ernest Hemingway. The author’s word usage, and connotation in this story, however similar to those in “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” makes the reader clearly visualize the images he is trying to illustrate. The three sentences from “The Short Happy Life of Francis Mocomber” are all around better written, use better words, and better help the reader imagine the author’s intentions.
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