Ernest M. Hemingway Essay, Research Paper
Ernest M. Hemingway
Do you ever ask yourself what makes life meaningful? For American novelist and short-story writer Ernest Hemingway, it was courage. The characters in his works might not win, but they always live and die bravely. Hemingway told it how it was and didn’t hold anything back.
Hemingway is well known for his novels of war, big game hunting, fishing, and bullfighting. One of his most famous works, “The Old Man and the Sea,” describes an old fisherman’s fight to keep a giant fish he caught from being eaten by sharks. Another of his famous works, “For Whom the Bells Tolls,” describes a guerrilla fighter during the Spanish Civil War who knew he was doomed to fail.
Ernest used his life when he wrote; including everything he did and everything that ever happened to him. He nevertheless remained a private person while wanting his stories to be read but also wanting to be left alone. He once said, “Don’t look at me. Look at my words.” During World War I Ernest served as an ambulance driver, in Italy, for the American Red Cross and very much like Frederick Henry of, “A Farewell to Arms,” was shot in his knee, recuperates in a hospital and tended by a caring nurse. Like the hero, in the book, he fell in love with the nurse and was given a medal for his heroism. In addition they both enjoyed drinking large amounts of alcohol as well.
In “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” Hemingway summarizes his own dissatisfaction about his father when he recalls his father’s suicide and a character, Jordan, says, “I’ll never forget how sick it made me the first time I knew he was a ? coward.” This goes back to support how Hemingway wasn’t afraid to speak his mind and also how he used his life when he wrote.
I believe that Hemingway was obsessed with death. In the book, “A Farewell to Arms,” Henry met his love, Catherine Barkley, before he was shot, but Catherine and her child died while she was giving birth. Many times Hemingway did not want to expose his life to everyone, because he was so private, and so slight changes would prove that it was not himself and his own experiences which he was writing about. I believe that Hemingway had Catherine and her child die, not to look different from his own life, but because he had a sick and morbid personality. Probably, the strongest reason for writing about Catherine Barkley’s death and the death of her child was Hemingway’s belief that death comes to everyone; it was inevitable. Death ends life before you have a chance to learn and live. He writes, in A Farewell to Arms, “They threw you in and told you the rules and the first time they caught you off base they killed you…. they killed you in the end. You could count on that. Stay around and they would kill you.”
Hemingway wrote stories that showed people should expect the unexpected. His stories offended and angered many folks. I think that Hemingway liked shocking and annoying people and he was certainly rebellious. If he had written an ending where Catherine Barkley and her child had lived, it would have been too easy and common. Hemingway was certainly not like everyone else, and he seemed to be proud of that fact. Even the fact that Hemingway wrote bad words and had a lot of sex in his books shows that he liked to shock people. When his publisher asked that he change some words and make his books more acceptable to people, Hemingway refused, and then was forced to compromise. Hemingway liked doing things his way and either people had to accept him the way he was or too bad for them.
I think that Hemingway probably did not even like himself and that was one reason that he couldn’t really like other people. It is obvious that Hemingway felt, as a young child and throughout his life, powerless, and so he created lives by writing stories. Hemingway also acted out his feelings of insecurity and powerlessness by hunting, drinking, spending lots of money and having many girlfriends as well.
After World War II Hemingway lived in Cuba with his fourth wife. In 1953 he won a Pulitzer Prize for Literature, and in 1954 he won the Nobel Prize for literature. Then he moved to Idaho when the communists came in to power in Cuba, but suffered from depression and loss of memory. Less than ten years later he killed himself with a shotgun in July of 1961.