A Very Short Story

This study guide will help you analyze the short story “A Very Short Story” (1924) by Ernest Hemingway. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it.

Below, you can read an excerpt:

Social setting

The social setting explores war, as well as gender issues.

It is suggested that war is one of the obstacles in the relationship between Luz and the soldier. The two want to get married, but “there was not enough time for the banns, and neither of them had birth certificates”. Also, the soldier does not receive Luz’s letters until after the armistice, so he does not write back to her. However, in the end, it is not the war which puts an end to their relationship, but their incompatibility. It should also be mentioned that their relationship starts while the soldier is in hospital after being wounded. It is quite possible that the difficulty of their situation was what brought the soldier and Luz together, which was why their relationship could not work during peace time. 

The story explores traditional gender roles in the relationship between the soldier and Luz. The soldier is expected to get a good job to support his future wife. It is also hinted that Luz chooses the major over the soldier because of his higher social status, which means he can provide better for her. At the same time, Luz opens a hospital in Pordonone, which suggests that she does not completely conform to gender roles.

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A Very Short Story

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