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Review Of Ernest Hemingway Essay Research Paper

Review Of Ernest Hemingway Essay, Research Paper Review of Ernest Hemingway and Writings Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American novelest and short-story writer whose writings and personal life exerted a

Review Of Ernest Hemingway Essay, Research Paper

Review of Ernest Hemingway and Writings

Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American novelest and

short-story writer whose writings and personal life exerted a

profound influence on American writers of his time and

thereafter. Many of his works are regarded as American classics,

and some have subsequently been made into motion pictures. A

review of Hemingway reveals many interesting points about his

life, about the influences upon his works, and of the the themes

and styles of his writings. An examination of Hemingway’s past brings to light many

interesting points and helps to create a better understanding of

how he came to be the master of the understated prose style. The

second of six children born to Clarence and Grace Hemingway,

Ernest was born July 21, 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois. The society

he grew up in was one of strict disciplinarians. His parents

were no exception. In fact he spent much of his life trying to

escape the “repressive code of behavior” (CLC, 177) that was

pushed upon him as a child. After graduating high school in 1977

he chose not to go to college and instead became a reporter for

the Kansas City Star, where he remained for seven months. His

oppurtunity to break away came when he volunteered as a Red

Cross ambulance driver in Italy. In July of 1918 while serving

along the Piave River, he was severely wounded by shrapnel and

forced to return home after recuperation in January 1919. The

war had left him emotionally and physically shaken, and

according to some critics he began as a result “a quest for

psychological and artistic freedom that was to lead him first to

the secluded woods of Northern Michigan, where he had spent his

most pleasant childhood moments, and then to Europe, where his

literary talents began to take shape.” (CLC, 177) First he took

a part-time job as a feature writer for the Toronto Star, eager

to further pursue his journalistic ambitions. In the fall of

1920 he became the contributing editor of a trade journal, which

took him to Chicago. It was there that he met his first wife,

Hadley Richardson. They were married in September 1921. In

December of that year they went to France and for a 19 month

strech Ernest travled over Europe and Anatolia as a foreign

correspondant for the Toronto Star. In late 1923 they returnned

briefly to Toronto where their son John was born, but Europe was

still in Hemingway’s mind. In early 1924 he resigned his job at

the Star and moved back to Paris to launch his career as a

writer.

In an examination of Hemmingway’s writings is very much akin to

a study of his life. Most all of his fiction was based upon or

expanded from events that he himself had experienced, or at

least that which he knew completely, inside and out. Being the

perfectionist that he was, Ernest did not feel justified in

writing about topics of which he was not comepletely informed.

Through his extensive travels in Europe and Africa, as well as

other areas, he formed the groundwork for many of his most famed

and cherished stories. His work as a Red Cross ambulance driver

(mentioned earlier) in Italy ended up providing the theme and

location of one of his most sucsessful novels, A Farewell to

Arms, published in 1929. Many of his tales, especially in

earlier years, centered around a character named Nicholas Adams,

undoubtably an incarnation of Hemingway himself. Just as

Hemingway before him, Nick Adams grew up around the Michigan

woods, went overseas to fight in the war, was severely wounded,

and returned home. Earlier stories set in Michigan, such as

“Indian Camp” and “The Three-Day Blow” show a young Nick to be

an impressionable adolescent trying to find his path in a

brutally violent and overwhelmingly confusing world. Like most

all of Hemingway’s main characters, Nick on the surface appears

tough and insensitive. However, “critical exploration has

resulted in a widespread conclusion that the toughness stems not

from insensitivity but from a strict moral code which functions

as the characters’ sole defense against the overwhelming chaos

of the world.” (CLC, 177) Not just Nick Adams’ experiences, but

his attitudes as well seem to mimic those of his creator.

Ernest’s 1924-25 adventures in Paris and Pamplona were the

basis of a memorable novel, The Sun Also Rises, which helped to

build him a reputation. The book was instantly sucsessful and

made him the leader of what was called “The Lost Generation.”

(Grolier, 1) His 1938 play and mellodrama of the Spanish Civil

War, The Fifth Column, was composed a year earlier during a stay

in Madrid. In 1933-34 He went on a big-game safari in Kenya and

Tanganyika where he became an avid hunter and picked up the

knowledge for his 1935 nonfiction work, Green Hills of Africa.

Also derived from his African experiences were two of best

stories, “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” and “The Short Happy Life of

Francis Macomber.” Dubbed his most ambitios novel, “For Whom The

Bell Tolls,” about the tragedy that had befallen the Spanish

people, came following the time he spent serving as a

correspondent for the North American Newspaper Alliance during

the Spanish Civil War. Other stories of his, while not based as

directly on events in his life, were still of subjects he took

interest in and was quite knowledgeable about.

Upon review of Hemingway’s writings, it can be concluded that

his works, on the whole, reflect the themes and attitudes of his

own life, and tend to be rejecting of society. All of his works

seem to revolve around the psychologically wounded Hemingway

Hero, accurately representing his own ongoing struggle to face

the world with “grace under pressure.” (CLC, 178) All of

Hemingway’s heros adhere to their own code, or set of moral

standards. They are usually men, tough and experienced in the

world they know, yet seemingly insensitive. Though they may seem

cold on the surface, it has been said that “the fidelity to a

code, to a discipline, may be an index to a sensitivity which

allows the characters to see, at moments, their true plight. At

times, and usually at times of stress, it is the tough man, for

Hemingway, the disciplined man, who actually is aware of pathos

or tragedy.” (CLC, 179) For example Harry, in “The Snows of

Kilimanjaro,” who fits the above decription of a Hemingway Hero,

lying incapacitated and ready to die, reveals through a series

of flashbacks his own imperfections and regrets. What he

experiences on his death bed is a moment of clarity, and is akin

to the man of discipline who, in a time of stress, finds his own

sensitivity and is able to see his true plight. The general idea behind Hemingway’s stories usually fall into

one of two categories. First, there is the story about the man

who as already adopted his code, or disciplines, in the world

which he cannot otherwise cope with. The second, which is used

more often, is about growth and learning, about discovery of the

world’s evils and disorder, and about the steps taken towards

“mastery of discipline” (CLC, 180) and the building of one’s

code. One good example of the latter would be “The Short Hapy

Life of Francis Macomber” in which a weak spineless man on

safari in Africa (note the similarity to Hemingway’s own

experience) experiences various achievements and rejections

which lead to his timely evolution from a normal twit to a

disciplined man. Still the definitive hero of Hemingway’s tales

is Nick Adams’, whose collected stories are entirely about

just that, the initiation into a swirling world of evil and

confusion, and the learning necesary to cope with it. Over half

of the first forty-five stories that Hemingway wrote focus on

Nick, or occasionally another young man so similar that they

could be one and the same. As a young boy, Nick’s reaction to

the world is that of shock. He stands to the side and observes

events, more than taking part in them. Terrible things happen to

him, and about him, as he grows up through the course of

Hemingway’s work. His experiences teach the reader about life,

and help to reveal the truths we would otherwise encounter in a

manner similar to him. In other words, “He is the whipping-boy

of our fearful awareness…He suffers our accidents and defeats

before they happen to us.” (CLC, 183)

The impact which Ernest Hemingway’s work has left upon society

is nothing short of astounding. He has taught about life’s harsh

realities and the importance of maintaining a code by which to

live and deal with those realities. Through his own extensive

experiences he has compiled these stories of the dark side of

life, and of the good that can be found within. His own battle

with the unforgiving world in which we exist, from which his

stories were derived, was lost in 1961 when he committed

suicide. The world will forever bear his mark.

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