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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Pamplona in July by Ernest Hemingway

In Ernest Hemingway's excerpt "Pamplona in July," Hemingway exposes readers to the lives of individuals living in the town of Pamplona (Navarre), Spain. The period is the mid 1920's after War World I has briefly ended, and the characters are visiting Pamplona, Spain in the month of July, where there they witness the chaotic ways of life and festivities held by the town. The citizens of Spain and the tourists worldwide await for the month of July for the event known as the Running of the Bull. Hemingway describes the wacky extravaganza of the partying, drinking, and dancing that goes on throughout the town of Pamplona for the event.

Hemingway uses imagery entirely throughout this selection. The small town of Pamplona is peacefully quiet through the year, but when the month of July comes around, "bull fight fans from all Spain jam into the little town" (98). The streets are flooded with "beautiful girls, gorgeous, bright shawls over their shoulder, dark, dark-eyed, black-lace mantillas over their hair, walk with their escorts in the crowds that pass from morning until night along the narrow walk that runs between inner and outer belts of cafe tables under the shade of the arcade of the white glare of the Plaza de la Constitucion. Hemingway's use of language edges readers to stop and grab a dictionary to understand the words of Spanish etymology. Toreros, barrera, and picador are some of the many words used of Spanish origin. He also uses bold details in his style of writing with a loaded choice of vocabulary: "once, twice, three times he made the perfect, floating, slow swing with the cape, perfectly, graceful, debonair, back on his heels, baffling the bull" (105). The time period is 1923, years shortly after the war, and people are probably still psychologically dramatized. Hemingway reiterates throughout the excerpt the crazy celebrations that goes on throughout the town day and night: "all day and all night there is dancing in the streets" (98). The citizens are just excessively celebrating their lives senselessly, running with wild bulls and watching and cheering for matadors who get charged by bulls. Business owners wait for the month of July to come around because the event attracts many tourists that help owners make as much money as possible for the year. Every room is booked, every cafe is crowded, and prices are risen to as much as double for the duration of the event. Even after such a dramatic tragedy, there are still many things in life to look forward to, such as traditions or celebrations.

It doesn't take much to be thrilled and excited in life as the tourists and citizenz of Pamplona greatly demonstrates. We don't have to stay in fancy hotels or watch costly events to enjoy and reward ourselves. After an unforgettable experience, Hemingway is able to describe the foolhardy, exciting events that exists in Pamplona: "That was just three months ago. It seems in a different century now, working in an office. It is a very long way from the sun baked town of Pamplona, where the men race through the streets in the mornings ahead of the bulls to the morning ride ot work on a Bay-Caledonia car. But it is only fourteen days by water to Spain and there is no need for a castle. There is always that room at 5 Calle de Eslava, and a son, if he is to redeem the family reputation as a bull fighter, must start very early" (106). Even after hard times, people can move on and still have much to appreciate.

Why do you think Hemingway chooses to write about a chaotic event such as this one, the World Series of Bull Fighting?

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