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In Our Time

Ernest Hemingway

Contents

Chapter VIII

Chapter VIII

Chapter VIII

Chapter VIII

Summary

At two o'clock in the morning, two Hungarians robbed a cigar store. As they were backing their wagon out of the parking lot, Drevitts and Boyle shot the two. When Drevitts realizes that they are dead, he gets nervous. Boyle says that they are crooks and "wops," so no one will care. Drevitts says he fired when he did not know that. Boyle answers that he can tell wops a mile away.

Commentary

Clearly, the prejudices left over from the war emerge in this story. These two men, who are extremely American, assume that the men they have killed are "wops." "Wop" is a derogative term for an Italian. Therefore, the men are not correct in whom they have killed. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this story, though, is its placement among the other stories. This tale, combined with "Soldier's Home," completely disrupts the flow of the book. Until now, the longer stories have proceeded in roughly chronological order and have all involved Nick Adams. The chapters, then, have all been about some experience in the war. However, in Chapter VIII, the setting of the story seems to be America, where the war was not being fought. Yet, through this chapter and "Soldier's Home," we see that the war comes home with the boys, in "Soldier's Home" through Krebs unhappiness and in Chapter VIII through prejudice.

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In Our Time (SparkNotes Literature Guide)