The Camouflage of the Sacred in the Short Fiction of Hemingway


State University of New York


This essay examines the short fiction of Ernest Hemingway in the light of Mircea Eliade’s notion of the camouflage of the sacred and the larval survival  of  original  spiritual  meaning.  A  subterranean  love  pulsates beneath the terse dialogue of Hemingway’s characters whose inner life we glimpse only obliquely. In the short play (“Today Is Friday”) and four short stories (“The Killers,” “A Clean Well-Lighted Place,” “Old Man at the Bridge,” and “The Light of the World,” discussed here, light imagery, biblical allusions, and the figure of Christ, reveal a hidden imaginary universe. This sacral dimension has been largely overlooked by critics who dwell on the ostensible spiritual absence that characterizes Hemingway’s fiction.

Keywords: Ernest Hemingway; Mircea Eliade; short story; the sacred