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Between the Hills

Today someone told me that Ernest Hemingway wrote at a grade 5 level. Basically, if you attained a grade five education, you would have no problem reading Hemingway’s stories.

But, is reading the same as understanding?

When I heard this today I thought about Hemingway’s story, “Hills Like White Elephants.” I thought about someone with a grade 5 education reading this story and I wondered, would they know what they’re reading? My guess is no.

Maybe an older person with a grade 5 education… But not a nine-year-old, that’s for sure.

So where does understanding come from if not from reading or education? Tell me what you think…

Read Hemingway’s story… Tell me what you think. I guess if Hemingway only wrote at a grade 5 level, I shouldn’t assume that he didn’t know what he was writing… Or, maybe he didn’t. I guess we’ll never know for sure.

2 thoughts on “Between the Hills

  1. It sounds like the person you talked to might evaluate literature at a 5th grade level! 😉 Yes, Hemingway does have a very simple style, but like you said, there’s a difference between reading and understanding. A 5th grader might just see it as a regular story, but an adolescent or adult would be more likely to understand its subleties. I feel like it’s the same way with movies. Sure, children can understand the basics of what’s going on in a movie (at least one in their own language), but kids will miss a lot of the subtle (funny/humorous/racy) things that adults see!


    1. Very true, very true. Unfortunately, I think there are still too many adults who are unable to see the “hidden meaning” in things…


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