"Concrete Particulars": The Suggestive Power of Physical World Details in Across the River and into the Trees
Practical approach for making material elements of the novel’s key duck-hunt frame story more accessible and engaging to twenty-first-century students who may be unfamiliar with Hemingway’s physical world. Ebel posits and responds to a range of potential topics, including duck hunting practices and equipment, guide’s role, and Veneto geography. Concludes that such basic hunting knowledge encourages students’ fuller understanding of Cantwell’s transformation and the novel’s larger themes of war, revenge, and reconciliation. Appendix F (195-96) provides a sample assignment using concrete objects and reminds the reader of the usefulness of guest speakers and in-seat students with hunting or military backgrounds for intergenerational learning and connection.