Discussion Notes: The Old Man at the Bridge

Next week’s story is The Most Handsome Drowned Man in the World by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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This week’s story was divisive with both Kenechi and Gerald enjoying it a lot more than either Maya or Anais. That said, Maya was the most disappointed and the conversation was interesting, as Gerald and Anais tried to pinpoint the problem. The messy video is on our Youtube page, and the glistening audio podcast is above. Check out the great article on Ernest Hemingway Gerald wrote. It was a wonderful read and full of information I didn’t know.

Here is the video I promised on where to start with several authors, including Hemingway by Ashley Riordon.

And here are the links for Kenechi’s Hemingway pick, For Whom The Bell Tolls and for Anais’ book recommendation of Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Yes, we do have a rating scale based on Bradberries! For the history of this goofy system, see Anais’ post “Read Short Stories or Ray Bradbury Cries.” If you want to design a Bradberry, we’d love to see it. Anais has the urge to create a Bradberry collage… Imagine, Bradberries on your desktop! You gave last week’s story, “The Magic Chalk” by Kobo Abe, 5 Bradberries.

On a scale of 1-6 Bradberries, how do you rate “The Old Man at the Bridge“? Tell us in the comments below or via voicemail, and we will give you the final tally on the next episode.

Next week’s story is  by The Most Handsome Drowned Man In the World by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I hope you enjoy it!

7 comments on The Old Man at the Bridge – Ernest Hemingway – Literary Roadhouse Ep: 9

  1. EmergingWriter says:

    I shared some of Maya’s disappointment with this. I quite enjoy Hemingway’s style, but because I went into this expecting more of a story and less of a snapshot, it felt incomplete to me. I have read “A Farewell to Arms” and “The Old Man and the Sea” by Hemingway , and I greatly prefer the latter. Since this is the only one of his short stories that I have read, I would be willing to try more of them. I suppose the best known one is “The Snows of Kilimanjaro.” Thanks for the cast!

    1. I agree re: The Snow of Kilimanjaro! Much better story, imo. I believe in episode 66 we discuss The Snow of Kilimanjaro on the show too.

  2. Ellie Franklin says:

    I actually quite enjoyed this – more so on the second and third readings than the first, I thought Gerald’s point about anonymity was spot on – the importance of knowing anything about the man is diminished by the time in which he exists. In so many ways, his identity is irrelevant and through the war all that he was and all that he has is lost – however nice it might be to learn a little more about him!

    Perhaps not the shiniest gem in the Hemingway crown, but still poignant and strangely touching for something without much character. Definitely one I’ll look back at in a few months.

    1. Maya Goode says:

      Yeah, I’m going to come back to it and see how I feel. I want to like it. It logically seems like a story I should find a lot of honesty and depth in, so coming away feeling empty and disappointed was frustrating. My next encounter with Hemingway may be a novel though. I think I may just like him better with a beginning, middle and end lol.

  3. Maria Concepcion says:

    I hated the story! hated the story until….I heard Kenechi’s comments. Yes, it’s a snapshot! of an ordinary man in the middle of a war. The story of an ordinary man in extraordinary times.

    This is my first time reading Hemingway, and after reading the story twice, I felt "what’s so great about Hemingway?" After listening to the podcast I realized that what’s so great about him is that in so few words, in such a simple story, he’s tackles one of the most profound issues we as human beings struggle with, finding our life’s purpose.

    Before the war the old man had a purpose, he took care of his animals. Because of the war, he can no longer care for his animals and keep them safe. This is the reason he doesn’t move from the bridge. He has lost his life’s purpose, he feels paralized, he has no real reason to go on, no reason to get off that bridge.

    4 Bradberries!

    1. Gerald Hornsby says:

      So glad you understood Hemingway, Maria. It is very different to a lot of the other stories we’ve read, and its low word count meant it didn’t have much time to explore the characters or the situation. But I loved it for its starkness and its minimalism, which is what a lot of Hemingway is all about.

    2. Maya Goode says:

      I love this comment! Purpose… such an important topic. I still can’t give the story a higher count cause if it’s so minimal I can’t pick up the theme…. does the theme exist lmao. But I will keep this in mind for the next read. Thanks Maria.

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