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Brian Lam

Mr. Gallagher

AP Language and Composition

29 November 2010

Faulkner to Hemingway Meta-Cognitive

After flipping back and forth and trying to grasp the writing style of Faulkner and

Hemingway, I realized that the single hardest task is how to transform Faulkner’s

elaborative writing style to Hemingway’s terse style while maintaining the tone with

respect to each author. I used Hemingway’s “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” and “Hills

Like White Elephants” as a reference to help me get a better understanding of his broad

syntax method of presenting the tone. I chose Faulkner’s “Barn Burning” to rewrite with

Hemingway style. I notice that the Faulkner’s dialogues are an effective piece to use for

rewrite because this actually helped me understand the plot of the story and the meaning

behind the relationship between Snope and Sartoris.

I tried to rewrite, following the paragraph and dialogue format of the two

Hemingway works. Actually, both works follow the same format, so I just took bits and

pieces of his sentences to be used as part of my own such as his conjunctions, main and

subordinate clauses of his sentences. I found that looking back and forth and comparing

sentences would allow me to synthesize sentences that could be useful. In addition,

dialogue formatting requires careful attention on who is speaking from each line of the

dialogue. The reader has to pay attention who is speaking which lines, in order to keep

track of the dialogue. I know that Hemingway would sometime continue the dialogue

from a person who has already spoken by following another line of dialogue as if the
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character is speaking both lines. I understand that Hemingway is trying to experiment

with how the person would actually talk by pausing and speaking again.

The next step is trying to figure out how to put Faulkner’s dialogue into

Hemingway sentences. This part I really had to be careful, paying attention to the style of

each author because Faulkner dialogues would sound too emotional if the sentences are

not arranged differently to Hemingway style. Moreover, when writing Hemingway

sentences, I would usually simplify my thoughts as if I am talking informally to a person

that I know well. But, Hemingway sentence are crisp and lively, and flow very nicely

without hesitation or break. When I break down Faulkner sentences, I had to think my

own way of rephrasing as I try to reflect it through how I would speak these words to

another person.
Lam 3

Brian Lam

Mr. Gallagher

AP Language and Composition

29 November 2010

Barn Burning – Comment

The last minute before the last light vanished from the sun the wind whoosh

against the leaves. In the morning time the alarm clock was noisy, but at dusk the hand

sustains the noise and the young boy liked to walk because he was joyful and now at dusk

it was chaos and he felt the unlikeness. The young boy walked closer and closer, to the

window of the cabin outside. The three men inside the cabin knew that the young boy is

watching, while he was a good boy they knew that if he bothered them he would leave

feeling ashamed, so they kept talking without stop.

Here, I imitated Hemingway’s sentences using parallel structure to connect

“the last minute before the last light.” I wanted to find someway to match
Hemingway’s first sentence in “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place”: “. . . an old
man who sat in the shadow the leaves of the tree made against the electric
light.” I wanted to set up an allegorical meaning to the opening of the story.
The reason for this effect is because readers could understand that this story is
deceptively simple. The tone develops slowly, but does give indication that the
story is serious.

“What did you do to my barn, Mr. Snope?” the man asked. He had broken the

eye-to-eye contact with him and fix it on his face.

“Why?” Mr. Snope said. Hemingway’s dialogue would sometime

contain two dialogues, separated by a
“Why do you think it was me?” pause, spoken by the same person. The
effect is that Hemingway wants readers to
“Did you?” think of his characters as real people, not
simply as characters in a story.
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“What proof do you have, Mr. Harris?”

“My barn burned that night. I got the stocks out but I lost the barn.”

They sat together at a table that lay on the middle of the cabin near the front door

and looked at the window where the leaves of the trees were all moving slightly except

where the young man laid his fingers at the corner edge where the wind cannot push his

fingers. The angry man pointed his finger to the window and the table shakes.

“Tell the boy to come inside.” At this time, you know that I rearranged the order of the plot;
instead of putting the boy in the house with the three men, I put
him outside looking in the cabin. The effect is to show that the
The boy comes inside, bewildered. boy’s innocence is separate from the adults. The boy’s innocence
exemplifies childhood naiveté separate from adult accusations. I
“What did your father do to my barn?” believe that rearranging this part is crucial because the family
relationship – the father and son – is important. It tests how much
“How should I know?” trust that the boy has on the father, and how much the father
could rely on his son not to tell the truth.

Another man stepped in to talk. “Let me handle this. Can you help us?” said the


“I don’t know. Maybe, if I knew what happened.”

“His barn got burned.”

“How bad is the damage?”

“Really bad.”

“Who could have done such a thing?”

“Someone who is evil.”

“All right,” said the boy who is still playing dumb.

“What’s your name?” the Justice said and move his head slightly upward.

“Colonel Sartoris Snopes.”

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“I hope anyone who is named Colonel Sartoris would tell the truth. Just let the air

out and then everything would all go perfectly natural.”

The young boy said nothing. The two men left the cabin. The boy looks at his

father, distressed.
Does the truth hurt? Hemingway
“You almost spoke the truth.” explores the pain and agony when
people have to endure the truth,
“Sorry, father.” which damages a strong
relationship between the son and
“You don’t know how worry I am” father. The young boy believes that
telling truth would set the father
“No.” free from guilt. While the father
believes that hiding the truth would
“Do you care for me?” prevent him from trouble.

“Yes. Why?”

“The truth is - I burned the barn.”

“What did you say?”

“I burned the barn.”

“The men knew in no doubt that it was you.”

“Yes, they must not know the truth.”

“What should I do?”

“When they ask you again, don’t let them find out.”

The boy said nothing.

“Do you hear me?”

“I will try not to.”

“You mean - you will not.”

“I am so confuse.”
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“Don’t let ethics change you. You’ve got to realize,” the father said, “that I don’t

want you to do it.”

The young boy said nothing.

“Doesn’t it mean anything to you? We could get along.”

I did not finish the whole story, but I think I may have a chopped-down version of
Faulkner’s writing.
The father tries to persuade his son not to tell the truth. Here, persuasion exemplifies the
act of manipulation. The father hopes that his son would not tell the truth because he does
not want to be revealed as a bad person. He only wants to let his son realize how serious
this situation can be if the father ends up arrested.