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In Our Time | Study Guide

Ernest Hemingway

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In Our Time | Chapter 10 | Summary



The vignette describes one moment of a bullfight. A white horse has been gored and its entrails hang down. The monos, or bullring servants, "whack-whacked" the horse on its rear legs, forcing it to canter. The horse's gait is jerky, and the entrails sway as it goes. The horse's rider, the picador or lancer, shakes his lance at the bull, but the bull hesitates to charge.


The monos and picador treat the horse with cruel indifference. They goad it to act though it is suffering a mortal wound. Everything in the bullfight this narrator describes is secondary to the showdown with the bull. The suffering of the horse is less important than the horse playing its part in the battle.

The narrator uses bullfighting's terms of art: monos and picador. He also uses ordinary Spanish words: barrera (barrier). This narrator is clearly an insider in the world of bullfight appreciation.

Time appears to stand still at the end: "The bull could not make up his mind to charge." Although the confrontation with the bull seems to be the most important part, it is left out of the vignette.

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