Banal Story (Hemingway)

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Banal Story
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man read a booklet about various topics, while a famous bullfighter died from pneumonia, causing grief and relief among his peers and fans.

A man sat in his home, eating an orange and feeling the cold from the snow turning to rain outside. He tried to warm himself by sitting on the electric stove, which seemed to give no heat. He thought about various events happening around the world, such as a boxing match in Paris, heavy snowfall in Mesopotamia, and English cricketers in Australia. He read a booklet that discussed various topics, including the future of humanity, the role of science in society, and the importance of culture and education.

The Narrator — reads a booklet and contemplates various topics; observant, reflective.

The booklet also mentioned the challenges faced by young women, such as an 18-year-old girl named Nancy Hawthorne who had to navigate the complexities of life. It encouraged readers to think about historical figures like Joan of Arc, Bernard Shaw, and Betsy Ross, and to consider the role of art and literature in society. While sitting at his writing-table, the narrator read a line from the booklet:

Live the full life of the mind, exhilarated by new ideas, intoxicated by the Romance of the unusual.

Meanwhile, in a distant town, a famous bullfighter named Manuel Garcia Maera lay dying of pneumonia.

Manuel Garcia Maera — famous bullfighter; skilled, admired, and feared by his peers.

His impending death was widely covered in the local newspapers, and people bought colorful pictures of him to remember him by. Other bullfighters were relieved by his death, as he consistently outperformed them in the ring. After his death, the news spread:

Bull-fighters were very relieved he was dead, because he did always in the bull-ring the things they could only do sometimes.

After his funeral, which was attended by 147 bullfighters, people gathered in cafes to escape the rain and continued to buy pictures of Maera to keep as mementos. The scene after Manuel Garcia Maera's funeral was described:

After the funeral every one sat in the cafés out of the rain, and many colored pictures of Maera were sold to men who rolled them up and put them away in their pockets.