Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not is divided into three parts, each of which follows Harry Morgan as the main character. The first part is narrated by Harry in the first person, while the other two have third-person narrators whose language and attitude are very close to Harry’s.

Why did Hemingway do this? Is the first-person Part I an artifact of the original short story that it’s adapted from? Why didn’t Hemingway stick with that for the other parts of the book?

1 Answer 1


Wikipedia seems consistent with the idea that the POV switch is partially an artifact of the novel's origin as two separate works.

A couple more reasons might be:

  • First-person is more intimate, and Hemingway's political leanings caused him to avoid things that might cause readers to identify or sympathize with the wealthy characters; and
  • It can be confusing to have multiple characters all speaking as "I." To help readers keep things straight, Hemingway reserved the first-person point-of-view for Harry Morgan, and also added character names to chapter headings.

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