Ernest Hemingway’s minimalist writing indicates flexibility in using relevant phrases shown in his book, “A Farewell to Arms” in which he efficiently makes use of each explanatory detail in the story. Another text that differs with Hemingway’s writing is of John Steinbeck, who writes in a much more complex manner, making the reader notice informative details, shown in “The Grapes of Wrath.” Steinbeck makes sure the minute details are crucial yet limited, both Steinbeck and Hemingway successfully deliver their stories, however they adopt practices that is proficient to their target readers and their writing ability. Steinbeck aims attention at mid intervals which produce a clear understanding of detail and how his writing defines this, whereas Hemingway adopts minimalism to provide liberty to the reader in order to build their understanding of the plot themselves.
Hemingway is skilled at not wasting limited writing space to any futile features. This method is shown predominantly in short sentences, “I did not say anything. I supposed it would be worse.” (chapter 4). This quotation is very short and candid, Hemingway does not focus on the contextual backgrounds of the characters; other writers typically extend their writing about the character’s lives to increase the reader’s understanding. The portrayals shown in ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ of the characters do not have substantial roles. The amount of detail Steinbeck explains about ‘Muley Graves’, a trivial character in the story, helps the reader to understand the connections he has with the other characters.
Steinbeck writes in nine pages describing the trial that sent Graves out of sight, hiding in Tom’s deserted home, and this delivers relevant material for the reader to grasp the state the farmers were at the time of hardship. “Kind a gover’ment we got that leans on us fellas is the ‘safe margin a profit (…) an’ gonna be a straw boss on lan’ his own folks used to farm” (chapter 5). It implies the destruction of Muley’s home and the confiscation of his lands. This portrayal is necessary since it discloses the Grave’s family’s circumstance, in which later they become central characters, contrasting in the technique that Hemingway follows.Hemingway’s minimalist practice is his word preference, he does not use complex phrases, “I had been driving and I sat in the car and the driver took the papers in” (chapter 7). By keeping his wording unpretentious, he debatably conveys his thoughts visibly.
Eventually, the writer’s aim is to suggest their idea that is in their mind hoping to deliver his thinking to their reader via the choice of words. It is the writer’s duty to guarantee their reader that their narration is revised by the writer, who knows more about the focus than he is including in the plot (Karl 1985) . Hemingway pays more importance in the actual message of the plot, rather than amplifying his writing ability, he remains exact to his minimalist technique and achieves in demonstrating strong images without using any sort of complex language.
Usually, the expression of words that are not identified as well is at times desirable for writers to develop the momentum of the sentences, which Hemingway accomplishes to reveal his opinions whilst keeping every element minimal and uncomplicated. This method does not stipulate the reader to be troubled by obstacles, it in fact allows for the smooth movement of the message to be understood. Hemingway creates the reading practice effective just like the plot that he produces is simply processed by his readers. “A great deal of the language in Steinbeck’s work can be over-inflated, making it less interesting to read” Barth (2013).
Barth states a thought-provoking point, in studying ‘The Grapes of Wrath’, it is hard to search for any mistakes in Steinbeck’s writing. Barth could possibly be stating to those texts that are not revealed as noticeably as Hemingway’s writing. Steinbeck deliberates that over-the-top sentences are usually required, but not compulsory. Like Hemingway, he knows how every phrase is vital to depict to the reader. Steinbeck uses uncomplicated lexis when he describes where the characters are based in California, “on the edges of the towns, in fields, in vacant lots, the used-car yards, the wreckers’ yards, the garages with blazoned signs” (chapter 7).
Here, he implies the minimalism of writing being his preference of constructing the complete picture for his readers. Majority of the detail is articulated using these intervals in the chapters, delivering the concept of the narrative, Hemingway proclaims on employing this image by clarifying this in significant detail.Hemingway relates to his readers better than Steinbeck, even the complicated descriptions are illustrated in ease.
Some writers to boast their descriptions which various readers may not be used to, however Hemingway battles this trend and remains with his minimalist portrayal. In ‘The Farewell to Arms’, Henry and his colleagues are ruined, and this is expressed in a very natural way, connecting to his reader’s sentiments, rather than intuition. “In the jolt of my head I heard somebody crying. I tried to move but I could not. I heard the machine-guns and rifles firing across the river and all along the river” (chapter 9).
This is a complex scene where numerous things are underway at once, but Hemingway does not avert from his simple approach, this should be holistically read to note the easiness the minimalist method marks. An intense picture that is shaped in the mind of the reader, is understood by not using difficult language. Whereas Steinbeck writes creatively just like Hemingway but uses a tough writing format, “A small wooden house dominated the camp ground, and on the porch of the house a gasoline lantern hissed and threw its white glare in a great circle” (chapter 16). The lantern is personified making the reader imagine the lantern seem expressive, whereas if it were Hemingway, he would write it as “the lantern floodlit the entry.” This sentence is very intense in the way he illustrates the flame, fully different from Hemingway’s usage of imageries. Whilst Hemingway’s writing philosophy relies in minimalism , Steinbeck concentrates on mid texts that are put in inside bulky chapters muddling the plot but improves the level of detail that permits Steinbeck to be in control of the plot, instead of making the reader do the hard work like Hemingway does.
It is very difficult to track the plot as they disrupt the flow; the reader is preoccupied for many parts throughout the novel and then thrown right into the key storyline again is confusing. But this is an apt technique for ‘Grapes of Wrath’, since the mid sections are representative of the hardships the family of Joad encounter to California. In fact, the sections provide the reader an interpretation of his family’s history. The reader can comprehend the financial condition the family discovers itself, and this would not be imaginable without adding it in the sections of the novel, as the plot would become too impractical. Hemingway administers the basics of the present using the minimalist tactic, whereas Steinbeck handles not only the detailed features of the present, he alters many of the descriptions of character’s family and linkage of the farm. Steinbeck makes sure his reader comprehends the difficulties the family had faced in having snatched their property away from them, to search for paid work in California. Steinbeck through his writing reveals his admiration of the Oklahoma farmers who travelled to California at the time of the Great Depression .
By using the technique of writing within chapters gives Steinbeck a say on the amount of courage the family had to survive. “‘You wouldn’t think jus’ reachin’ up an’ pickin’d get you in the back,’ Pa said. ‘Be awright in a couple days,’ said Tom” (chapter 25). This implies the effort the family conquered in the story. Each family member fought daily in the hopes to live, even though they had no hope for the future, this was how Steinbeck conveyed his message in depth which was utilised by connecting the information to the current chapter. In contrast, there is no necessity for Hemingway to convey the political state of the characters involved in the war, as many readers perceive about conflict, which is all essential to know of the narrative. Provides Hemingway the opportunity to adhere to minimalism in the structure of the story and evade the problems of the unit of the chapters.
Steinbeck was very detailed in his plot because he approached this in a different way than Hemingway by not choosing the route of minimalism. Steinbeck writes in a method that consists of conversations as well as the judgements of the characters, suggesting the misperception that people currently were in. “What they want for six bits? If I had enough jalopies I’d retire in six months” (chapter 7).
Steinbeck prefers to expose his characters, whereas Hemingway left it to the reader to choose what his characters would interpret. “I heard a cough, then came the chuh-chuh – as when a black-furnace door is swung open” (chapter 9). This example suggests minimalism that is recurrent and provides liberty to the reader to sense Henry’s feelings, as they can only sense his emotions by his words, seeming that he felt quite rushed and panicked in the attack.
Not many readers would prefer to decide about the progress of the plot and would desire the writer to provide any descriptions. Hemingway provides his readers minimal information that is enough for his readers to understand the basics, letting them comprehend what the story is about. This tactic of Steinbeck aids the reader in developing their knowledge of his plot. Minimalism allows the reader to be involved in the plot (which Hemingway accomplishes), however Steinbeck’s aim is mainly to compose his message in minute detail and be idiosyncratic in his writing.