Murder by Committee: Realism and Responsibility in Ernest Hemingway’s "The Butterfly and the Tank"
Close reading of the 1938 story about a death in a Madrid bar during the Spanish Civil War, examining ideas of truth and the complicity of participants and bystanders. Draws a parallel to Stephen Crane’s “The Blue Hotel,” which raises similar issues surrounding a murder. Examines manuscript versions, which contribute to understanding perspectives and interpretations relating to the narrator and the story’s unnamed characters, such as the bar manager, who offer different stories about the murder victim, Pedro, and the killing. Concludes with discussion of the story’s metaphorical implications of the failure of the US and allied countries to act as the Spanish Republic collapsed and an emphasis on writers’ responsibility to write truthfully about war.
South Atlantic Review