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Iceberg Theory

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Kathryn Tian

on 21 April 2013

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Transcript of Iceberg Theory

OUtLINE 1.Iceberg

2.Freud's iceberg model

3.Hemingway's iceberg principle Iceberg Because the density of pure ice is about 920 kg/m³, and that of sea water about 1025 kg/m³, typically only one-ninth of the volume of an iceberg is above water. The shape of the underwater portion can be difficult to judge by looking at the portion above the surface. This has led to the expression "tip of the iceberg", for a problem or difficulty that is only a small manifestation of a larger problem. "The mind is like an iceberg, it
floats with one-seventh of its
bulk above water."
- Sigmund Freud Iceberg Theory By Tian Naibing Topography of Mind:
Freud's Iceberg Model for Unconscious,
& Conscious According to Freud,
there are three levels of consciousness:
conscious (small): this is the part of the mind that holds what you're aware of. You can verbalize about your conscious experience and you can think about it in a logical fashion.
preconscious (small-medium): this is ordinary memory. So although things stored here aren't in the conscious, they can be readily brought into conscious.
unconscious (enormous): Freud felt that this part of the mind was not directly accessible to awareness. In part, he saw it as a dump box for urges, feelings and ideas that are tied to anxiety, conflict and pain. These feelings and thoughts have not disappeared and according to Freud, they are there, exerting influence on our actions and our conscious awareness. This is where most of the work of the Id, Ego, and Superego take place. Material passes easily back and forth between the conscious and the preconscious. Material from these two areas can slip into the unconscious. Truly unconscious material cant be made available voluntarily, according to Freud. You need a psychoanalyst to do this! Hemingway's Employment
of Freud's Iceberg Model "I always try to write on the principle of the iceberg. There is seven-eights of it under water for every part that shows. Anything you know you can eliminate and it only strengthens your iceberg... It is the part that doesn't show."

--Ernest Hemingway We can use the metaphor of an iceberg to help us in understanding Freud's topographical theory.
Only 10% of an iceberg is visible (conscious) whereas the other 90% is beneath the water (preconscious and unconscious).
The Preconscious is allotted approximately 10% -15% whereas the Unconscious is allotted an overwhelming 75%-80%.
"If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water."
-Death in the Afternoon A writer strengthens the story by omitting certain parts

The writer must be writing true enough in order for the reader to sense the omitted parts of the story

When the reader senses the omitted parts, a greater understanding and perception of the story can be reached.

Only the tip of the story is written while the rest is left underwater-- unsaid - Loneliness and despair
- Deep love with Catherine
- Pain of being apart from Catherine
- Worry for Catherine's pregnancy
- Resentment of the baby
- Psychic connection

Nobody has to tell you Frederic Henry is dreaming. Well we were in it. Every one was
caught in it and the small rain would
not quiet it. "Good-night, Catherine,"
I said out loud. "I hope you sleep well.
If it's too uncomfortable, darling, lie
on the other side," I said. "I'll get you
some cold water. In a little while it will
be morning and then it won't be so bad.'
I'm sorry he makes you so uncomfortable. Try and go to sleep,
I was asleep all the time, she said. You've been talking in your sleep. The Old Man and the Sea could have been over a thousand pages long and had every character in the village in it and all the processes of how they made their living, were born, educated, bore children, et cetera. That is done excellently and well by other writers. In writing you are limited by what has already been done satisfactorily. So I have tried to learn to do something else. First I have tried to eliminate everything unnecessary to conveying experience to the reader so that after he or she has read something it will become a part of his or her experience and seem actually to have happened. This is very hard to do and I’ve worked at it very hard.
I’ve seen the marlin mate and know about that. So I leave that out. I’ve seen a school (or pod) of more than fifty sperm whales in that same stretch of water and once harpooned one nearly sixty feet in length and lost him. So I left that out. All the stories I know from the fishing village I leave out. But the knowledge is what makes the underwater part of the iceberg.”

Ernest Hemingway, The Art of Fiction No. 21 (Interviewed by George Plimpton) The Iceberg Theory (also known as the "theory of omission") is the writing style of American writer Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway began his writing career as a reporter. Journalistic writing, particularly for newspapers, focuses only on events being reported, omitting superfluous and extraneous matter. When he became a writer of short stories, he retained this minimalistic style, focusing on surface elements without explicitly discussing the underlying themes. Hemingway believed the true meaning of a piece of writing should not be evident from the surface story, rather, the crux of the story lies below the surface and should be allowed to shine through. Hemingway’s writing style is effective because it involves the reader
in the work by forcing the reader to dig beneath the layer of description and find the depth of the writing.

Hemingway's ability
to incorporate the iceberg into many of his works in different capacities and for different purposes establishes him
as one of the great American writers of the 20th Century.
Perhaps the most effective use of the iceberg is in "Hills Like White
Elephants. The short, choppy sentence stands out and draws the reader's attention to it as a poorly written
sentence when in actuality, that is the most important sentence of the passage. " This story is seemingly about
nothing until analyzed and discovered that it is about abortion, a subject that was taboo when the story was written.
the iceberg in the majority of his works in different situations and in regard to different kinds of characters,
making it a versatile and effective technique. Hemingway used the iceberg to disguise the subject matter of the
entire story so that only the most intelligent readers could understand what the story was about. Let's apply Hemingway's "iceberg principle" to the endings of some of his most famous works. At the end of The Sun Also Rises, Jake Barnes and Brett Ashley contemplate a life together. At the end of A Farewell to Arms, Frederic Henry walks back to his hotel alone in the rain. At the end of For Whom the Bell Tolls, Robert Jordan awaits his impending death. The fate of these characters is never directly stated. Hemingway doesn't tell the reader that Jake Barnes and Brett Ashley will never be together. Instead, it is "pretty to think" that they could have had a damned good life together. Hemingway doesn't tell the reader what lies in store for Frederic Henry after he leaves his dead lover in the hospital. Does his walk alone in the rain represent emotional freedom or devastation? Robert Jordan is surely to die at the end of For Whom the Bell Tolls, but Hemingway leaves the reader with the image of Jordan's "heart beating" against the forest floor.
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