The narrator and others are waiting in a garden. As Germans come over the garden wall, they shoot them. The soldiers look very surprised as they are shot, but they are all shot the same way.
This blurb emphasizes the surprise with which death hits. Even though all the soldiers are in a war and die the same way, they are all surprised when it happens. This surprise corresponds, of course, to the surprise that everyone feels at death.
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→
62 out of 69 people found this helpful