It is 1919. He is traveling from Budapest, where he was treated very badly by the anti-Communists, to Italy. He has no money, only a small piece of cloth, on which is written that he is a comrade who has suffered greatly. Other comrades in the Communist party feed him and help him along the way. He loves Italy, especially the artwork, though not that of Mantegna. He is picked up by a man in Bologna. This man tells him that the revolution is not going well in Italy. Still, the Hungarian is hopeful that a Communist revolution will occur. He believes it will start in Italy. Next, he is to go to Milan, from where he will eventually travel over the mountains into Switzerland. The last the narrator heard about him, he was in a jail in Switzerland.
Even though this story takes place after World War I is over, political battles are still occurring. "The Revolutionist" documents the continued battles of the Communists. They believed that the workers would unite against the bourgeoisie and take back the power of the state. Through this story, then, Hemingway shows the continued political pressure in Europe. Plus, this young Hungarian shows what such turmoil can do for young people. Like many of the soldiers in World War I, this young man is traveling with a purpose. Yet, he cannot help but fall in love with the country that he ends up in. The American soldiers in World War I did the same thing. Many had never traveled before, and this war, though gruesome, let them see amazing sights abroad. Krebs from the previous story, did not want to leave Europe once the war was over. Hemingway uses this story to express, then, that young men in the war suffered atrocities but also brought home memories of the beauty of the artwork and landscape of Europe.
Sparknotes' commentary for On the Quai at Smyrna seems to have quite a few historical errors. The commentary states that the narrator is likely talking about the Greek evacuation of Thrace, but the title is On the Quai at Smyrna. Smyrna is a city in modern-day Turkey (now called Izmir). The Christian (mainly Greek and Armenian) part of Smyrna was burned in 1922 after the Turks recaptured the city from the Greeks. Hemingway was actually in Turkey just after the Great Fire to cover the Greco-Turkish War as a correspondent for the Toronto Star.... Read more→
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I think it is difficult to talk about this short story without acknowledging the use of literary minimalism. Several pieces of information are left out of the text but most readers come to the conclusion that Mrs. Elliot is a lesbian. Her marriage to Hubert is one of convenience, and her desire to have a baby is, arguably, to prove that she is not Lesbian (or just so that she can live in the current society without being judged).
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