AMF Question #19 ~ A Matter of Measurements

by Ernest Hemingway

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AMF Question #19 ~ A Matter of Measurements

Unread postby Liz » Tue Nov 04, 2008 10:32 am

From the first page of the chapter entitled A Matter of Measurements:

“When he (Scott) would ask me to tell him something absolutely truly, which is very difficult to do, and I would try it, what I said would make him angry, often not when I said it but afterwards, and sometimes long afterwards when he had brooded on it. My words would become something that would have to be destroyed and sometimes, if possible, me with them.”

Have you found this to be true in real life? Have you done this or been on the receiving end of it?
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Re: AMF Question #19 ~ A Matter of Measurements

Unread postby Buster » Tue Nov 04, 2008 4:52 pm

Generally, when people ask you to be completely honest, they are either asking for an affirmation of their own beliefs, or are testing your friendship.
Just feeling a need to ask a friend to be completely honest reveals a great deal about the lack of trust in the relationship.

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Re: AMF Question #19 ~ A Matter of Measurements

Unread postby Liz » Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:29 pm

Buster wrote:Just feeling a need to ask a friend to be completely honest reveals a great deal about the lack of trust in the relationship.

True. If one truly trusts a friend, one wouldn't have to ask him to be honest because he would expect honesty. It would be a given. I think it shows a lack of self-confidence.

Thanks for starting us off, Buster.
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Re: AMF Question #19 ~ A Matter of Measurements

Unread postby gemini » Tue Nov 04, 2008 8:11 pm

Wow, I am reading this question after just reading the article Liz quoted from in the Stein question. The article mentions that Hemingway wrote AMF in 1960 a year before he committed suicide. He didn't submit it for publishing and his wife had it published posthumously, Since AMF has many not so gracious things said about his friends it seems Hemingway himself is guilty of brooding on things and retaliating later. Fitzgerald died young in 1940, Stein and Alice in 1946.
I wonder if Hemingway planned on all of this coming out long after those involved were gone.
Liz Hope you don't mind if I bring your link over from that thread.

To answer the question myself. I am also a brooder and rethink things much later. I probably wouldn't retaliate but would fret over things I didn't like. Yes its probably shallow but true.
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Re: AMF Question #19 ~ A Matter of Measurements

Unread postby Liz » Tue Nov 04, 2008 11:37 pm

gemini wrote:Wow, I am reading this question after just reading the article Liz quoted from in the Stein question. The article mentions that Hemingway wrote AMF in 1960 a year before he committed suicide. He didn't submit it for publishing and his wife had it published posthumously, Since AMF has many not so gracious things said about his friends it seems Hemingway himself is guilty of brooding on things and retaliating later. Fitzgerald died young in 1940, Stein and Alice in 1946.
I wonder if Hemingway planned on all of this coming out long after those involved were gone.
Liz Hope you don't mind if I bring your link over from that thread.

To answer the question myself. I am also a brooder and rethink things much later. I probably wouldn't retaliate but would fret over things I didn't like. Yes its probably shallow but true.

I have to admit that I do the same. But I suffer from lack of self-confidence, and I do ask people what they think. And then I do brood about it later.

No problem at all in posting that link on this thread. It is very relevant.
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Re: AMF Question #19 ~ A Matter of Measurements

Unread postby Theresa » Wed Nov 05, 2008 12:47 am

Liz, it seems to me that asking someone what they think is a little different than asking someone to tell the absolute truth. When you ask someone what they think, it gives them the opportunity to word what they have to say in more gentle terms.

I think that when someone asks for the absolute truth, they already know it's not good news, because you know, no one ever asks for the absolute truth when something is good. So maybe part of the reaction of brooding and then getting angrier and angrier over what was said is just finding a scapegoat for what they already knew was bad.

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Re: AMF Question #19 ~ A Matter of Measurements

Unread postby Liz » Wed Nov 05, 2008 12:00 pm

Theresa, that is another very good point, and thus why Hemingway says it is "very diffifult to do", assuming the truth is not all good and probably not really what someone wants to hear. Welcome to the discussion, BTW.
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Re: AMF Question #19 ~ A Matter of Measurements

Unread postby Buster » Wed Nov 05, 2008 6:13 pm

Do you think that when Hemingway says that telling the absolute truth is difficult, he is referring to the idea that there may not even be an "absolute truth" (that is, one's perceptions and circumstance dictate what is perceived as "truth")?
As time passes, or through brooding or reflection, what passed for truth originally may take on a very different aspect.
As gemini said:
Since AMF has many not so gracious things said about his friends it seems Hemingway himself is guilty of brooding on things and retaliating later.

I was taken by the line
My words would become something that would have to be destroyed and sometimes, if possible, me with them.”
On some level, this made me really wonder just how brutal Hemingway was toward his friends. In my experience, real candor strengthens a true friendship, while half-truths posing as honesty lead to the sort of destruction he seems to have experienced.

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Re: AMF Question #19 ~ A Matter of Measurements

Unread postby Liz » Wed Nov 05, 2008 6:31 pm

True, Buster. One person’s truth is not necessarily the same as another’s. Depending on what we are talking about, it is probably just an opinion. But I think he is referring to the truth according to Hemingway—what Hem thought. Maybe Fitz didn’t see it that way. Maybe he thought Hem’s word was law.

Real candor can strengthen a relationship as long as it is not given in a brutal fashion. I have always felt a sense of security with friends who I know will let me know how it is, no matter how hard it is to hear. I always know where they stand.
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Re: AMF Question #19 ~ A Matter of Measurements

Unread postby Lady Jill » Thu Nov 06, 2008 12:12 am

I really enjoyed all your thoughts on this question. Truly if one needs to ask for a "honest anwer" than there may very well not be a true friendship there. I too "brood" over things that may bother me about a friends comments etc., only to finally say something honestly. I think that comes from wanting acceptance, a hard thing to acknowledge.

I didn't realize that Hemingway committed suicide, nor that he wrote this AMF a year before.

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