Readers liked this new writing style, too, but some complained--as many readers of Hemingway do today--that his endings are unresolved. Some people tend to feel uneasy when elements of a story are left hanging in the air, but Hemingway believed that if he had done his job right, readers would know what was going to happen--what had to happen--because of what had come before. And, really, it is a good rule of writing that if something is obvious, then it need not be stated.
I wonder if the real issue isn't something else, though. Because by picking up Hemingway's plot lines and thinking them through to their likely resolutions, we can be left feeling empty; we fail to reach happy endings. But then Hemingway wrote about emptiness. The characters in The Sun Also Rises, members of the Lost Generation, rush off to places like Pamplona, with its festivals and bullfights, to divert themselves, to hide from the fact that their lives have no purpose. "It seemed out of place to think of consequences during the fiesta," Hemingway wrote. The characters drink heavily for the same reason: "Under the wine I lost the disgusted feeling and was happy," says Jake Barnes, the narrator. Life doesn't get much emptier than this.
Frederic Henry, protagonist of A Farewell to Arms, has emptiness thrust upon him. He volunteers for ambulance duty in the First World War only to learn that war yields nothing noble, that it "is not won by a victory." War is death and suffering and waste, and in the end Frederic is left with naught. He loses even the British nurse he loves, Catherine Barkley, who dies after delivering a stillborn son. "Everything was gone inside of me" is how Frederic describes his emptiness. About Catherine he reports what he can observe: "She was unconscious all the time, and it did not take her very long to die."
I have to say that I love Hemingway's endings. Jake Barnes and Brett Ashley thinking pretty thoughts in a Spanish taxicab; Frederic Henry walking from the hospital to his hotel in the nighttime rain; Robert Jordan, in For Whom the Bell Tolls, hiding in a pine forest with a broken leg and a ready weapon. Perfect, every one.