Sometimes students will insert an editorial comment in their essays for my class. One student placed in parentheses the fact that she was going to begin typing a characters name differently because it was just too long and hard. While I expect that from 8th and 9th graders from time to time, I was taken aback to see Hemingway do it. I suppose the whole novel comprises Jake’s voice in telling the story, so I shouldn’t be surprised when he inserts a random comment like this: “I went to the Ayuntamiento and found the old gentleman who subscribes for the bull-fight tickets for me every year, and he had gotten the money I sent him from Paris and renewed my subscriptions, so that was all set. He was the archivist, and all the archives of the town were in his office. That has nothing to do with the story. Anyway, …”
I go back and forth between that being rather hilarious and it being rather odd. The irony here is all the other odd details and conversations that at first glance appear to also have nothing to do with the story, but he includes those too. The whole book so far reminds me a bit of Seinfeld: a book about nothing. Nevertheless, I marvel at Hemingway’s ability to carry the story along from seemingly trivial detail to trivial detail.