“Death in the Afternoon” is a nonfiction novel written by Ernest Hemingway in the 1930s. It is a rather long article on bullfighting in Spain. The novel takes the Spanish bullfighting culture as the background, tells the origin of the bullfighting culture and the cruel and bloody bullring scenes. In the book, he made a very detailed and in-depth introduction and discussion of bullfighting, pointing out that the life and death performance of bullfighters in the bullring has a strong appeal. In “Death in the Afternoon”, through the introduction of bullfighting, the author expounds the problems in literary creation. In the book, in addition to the free and flexible use of narrative, description, discussion, lyric and other expression techniques, he also added terminology annotation, news interview, etc., forming a unique stylistic phenomenon: cross-style writing.
A bullfight is divided into three stages: the first act is the trial, in which the lancer on horseback enters the arena together with the sword killer on foot. The bull first attacks the lancer and kills the horse that the lancer is riding, while the sword killer coacts with the fallen lancer and draws the bull’s attention with a red cloak to protect the lancer, and then the lancer leaves. This scene is designed to fully express the character of the bull, allowing the audience to identify the strength of the bull and fatigue the neck muscles of the bull.The bulls, though superficially intimidating, were only superficially victorious. In the second act, the matador attacks with a short javelin, throwing three or four pairs of short javelins, which are either inserted into the muscles of the bull’s neck to weaken it, or hooked onto one side of the bull’s neck, forcing the bull to always attack that side. The bull is sluggish because of fatigue and injuries, making it easier for the matador to focus on his target.
In the third act, the sword killer performs the muletta act with his red cloak and sword, lowering the bull’s head, and then, taking the opportunity, bending over the bull’s horns, thrusting his sword between the bull’s shoulder blades and killing the bull. From the above three acts, we can see that there is only one theme of this tragedy, which is life and death.”Death in the Afternoon” is a cross-genre novel, which makes extensive use of the achievements of all disciplines including natural science. It takes literary interest and literary aesthetic value as the core and embraces as many language functions as possible.