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 from our study guide: 


The hospital where Luz and the soldier begin their relationship is a symbol of adversity which brings people together. Luz and the soldier meet during a war, while the soldier is wounded. These are not ideal situations, but the circumstances paradoxically serve to bring them closer together. The hospital transforms from a symbol of pain and sorrow into a welcoming shelter, a setting which brings them closer together.

The Duomo where the couple, and other people as well, go to pray, is a symbol of hope. Like the hospital, it is also a shelter and a welcoming space in the middle of the chaos of war: “It was dim and quiet”. 

The train is a symbol of separation and departure. It signals the beginning of the end for the couple, as it is the setting of their first conflict: “On the train from Padua to Milan they quarreled about her not being willing to come home at once”. 

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A Very Short Story

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