Each writer has its very own and unique style when writing a story. The style a writer uses to write a story shows the tone being use, symbolism, characterization and description, enough for the reader to understand the story. Two well-known writers with completely different styles are Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner. “Faulkner uses many words to weave an intricate picture in the reader’s head of what is going on, and Hemingway uses many monosyllabic words to create a seemingly simple story” (Dayan).
Their similarities and differences in style are seen when comparing and contrasting two of their famous short stories, “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” by Ernest Hemingway and “Barn Burning” by William Faulkner. Ernest Hemingway’s story “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” uses simple words that directly mean what they stand for. Hemingway uses simple, less complex words to describe both characters and setting. Examples of it are found in the title, “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” (Hemingway 141). The two waiters describe the customer as a “clean old man… a good client” (Hemingway 141).
Hemingway’s word choice was blunt and to the point. The word usage does not let the reader get funny ideas or leeway to think anything other than what Hemingway says. Hemingway’s style reflects when the young waiter states the old man is “drunk” (Hemingway 141). The young waiter does not suggest he was tipsy or that he seemed intoxicated, he simply meant he was drunk. On the other hand, William Faulkner’s use of words are more complicated due to the fact they are slang and misspelled. Some misspelled words and slang are “kin… hisn… and hit” (Faulkner 145) which stands for the words can, his, and it.
The reason for the use of a southern accent is to set the mood of where the story takes place. Racist slurs such as “nigger” (Faulkner 146) are used to build a certain attitude toward the character who says them. Faulkner describes the way Abner walks as “stiffly” (Faulkner 146) which also affects the way the reader feels about the character. Many readers who are not familiar with the south the complex word usage in “Barn Burning” mean many things and nothing at times; this can also affect the reader’s attitude toward the story. In his writing Ernest Hemingway gives you a clearer and easier image of the setting in the story.
“It was late and everyone had left the cafe except an old man who sat in the shadow the leaves of the trees made against the electric light” (Hemingway 141). Another image follows instantly, of a girl and a soldier hurriedly passing by, “The street light shone on the brass number on his collar” (Hemingway 141). These images are visualized clearly which helps set the setting. The images Hemingway wants to show and describe in his story are put into simple words, which leave no confusion for the reader not to be able to feel or see the story. However William Faulkner uses a different technique.
Faulkner’s images are given in difficult wording with excessive details. An example of this is shown in one of his stories, “ranked shelves close-packed with the solid, squat, dynamic shapes of tin cans whose labels his stomach read… the scarlet devils and the silver curve of fish” (Faulkner 145). His description is longer and harder to understand unlike Hemingway which is easier and understandable to read. “Ernest Hemingway brings us to the moment with speed…In contrast Faulkner gently leads, involves and seduces, and then overwhelms” (Hemingway, Line: Ernest).
When reading Faulkner’s story’s one must re-read the story in order to understand. In Ernest Hemingway’s story, the details he wants to describe are done to get the theme across. The details of the cafe and the bar are given so one can compare and understand the character’s loneliness and his need for light and cleanness. The cafe was “clean… well-lighted” (Hemingway 144). The bar on the other hand was unpolished. Other details Hemingway includes are those of the old man’s character. “Last week he tried to commit suicide,” (Hemingway 141) and “He has plenty of money.
” (Hemingway 141) are given to descried the old man and set a setting. Also the language used in Faulkner and Hemingway are completely different. For instance the language used in the story “Barn Burning” by William Faulkner includes informal and slightly slanged words. “‘Naw,’ he said. “Hit don’t hurt. Lemme be. ’” (Faulkner 147). Interior Monologue also makes up the element of language. Interior monologue is a tool through which a writer can exhibit the thoughts of the characters to the readers. “I could run on and on and never look back, never need to see his face again.
” (Faulkner 155) is Sarty’s interior monologue. Faulkner uses interior monologue to prove Sarty was not allowed to express himself freely out of fear. The sentence structure used in a story also has an impact on the reader’s attitude. The sentences are structured in a way to get certain points and feelings across. Sentence structure in Ernest Hemingway’s “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” includes short, choppy, simple and direct sentences. For example, ‘“He has plenty of money. ”’ (Hemingway 141) and “‘Nothing. ”’ (Hemingway 141).
Formal, complex and long drawn-out sentences make up the sentence structure in “Barn Burning” by William Faulkner. “In the day the street was dusty, but at night the dew settled the dust and the old man liked to sit late because he was deaf and now at night it was quiet and he felt the difference. ” (Faulkner 141). His sentences tend to long and breath taking. Faulkner’s style is formal but excessively detailed. He creates sentences extremely complicated that many times the best way to understand them is to go back and re-read the sentence.
“The boy, crouched on his nail keg at the back of the crowded room, knew he smelled cheese, and more: from where he sat he could see the ranked shelves close-packed with the solid, squat, dynamic shapes of tin cans whose labels his stomach read, not from the lettering which meant nothing to his mind but from the scarlet devils and the silver curve of fish-this, the cheese which he knew he smelled and the hermetic meat which his intestines believed he smelled coming in intermittent gusts momentary and brief between the other constant one, the smell and sense just a little of fear because mostly of despair and grief, the old fierce pull of blood” (Faulkner 145).
The style of both Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner are very different. One style, Hemingway being simple and to the point the other, easy enough for the reader to get a quick understanding and clear image of the story. Faulkner being complicated and full of details makes it complicated for the reader to understand the story. One must be open minded in order to understand Faulkner’s stories and the possible meanings of each one. Works Cited Dayan, Evea.
“Faulkner Vs. Hemingway: A Comparison of Writing Styles. ” Associated Content from Yahoo! – Associatedcontent. com. Web. 30 July 2011. http://www. associatedcontent. com/article/292995/faulkner_vs_hemingway_a_comparison. html? cat=38 Faulkner, William. “Barn Burning. ” Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Ed. X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 2nd Compact ed. New York: Longman, 2000. 145-158.
Hemingway, Ernest. “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place. ” Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Ed. X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 2nd Compact ed. New York: Longman, 2000. 141-144. Hemingway, Line: Ernest. “Philip S. Rader – Faulkner