Ernest Hemingway

Claire Wilkin p4 Red

Biography

  • Born April 21, 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois
  • Parents: Grace and Clarence Miller. Had 4 sisters and 1 brother
  • Raised in an upper-middle class suburban area with values of strong religion, physical fitness, and hard work
  • Hemingway's family owned a summer home in Michigan where Hemingway became an avid fisher and hunter
  • Played sports and wrote for the Trapeze school newspaper in high school
  • After graduation, Hemingway did not attend college, but rather began working for the Kansas City Star newspaper where he developed his writing style
  • In 1918 Hemingway served as an ambulance driver for the Italian Army and was wounded. During his service he has an affair with Agnes Von Kurowsky (a nurse)
  • Later in 1921 he moved to Paris and became part of the Lost Generation (a group of expatriate writers)
  • In Paris he became good friends with Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ford Madox Ford. Much of Ernest Hemingway's style and subject matter came from his time spent with these writers
  • Married first wife Elizabeth Hadley Richardson while in Paris in 1921
  • In 1923 Hemingway published his first book Three Stories and Ten Poems
  • Inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby Hemingway decided to write larger texts- Published first novel The Sun Also Rises in 1926
  • A year after his first novel is published, 1927, Hemingway divorces his wife Elizabeth Richardson after having an affair with Pauline Pfeiffer
  • Hemingway lived all over the United States with Pauline including Illinois, Kansas, Wyoming, Idaho, and Key West Florida (this region will become associated with Hemingway)
  • In 1928 Hemingway learns his father has committed suicide and begins to think he will end his life by his own hand
  • Hemingway served as a correspondent during the Spanish Civil War 1937
  • 1941 Hemingway is nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for For Whom the Bell Tolls
  • After the war he divorced Pauline Pfeiffer and married Martha Gellhorn in 1940
  • In 1945 Hemingway divorces Gellhorn and in 1946 he marries his fourth and final wife Mary Welsh
  • In 1952 Hemingway earns a Pulitzer Prize for The Old Man and the Sea
  • Won Nobel Prize for LIerature in 1954
  • An alcoholic all his life Heminway's physical mental health began deteriorating as he aged (suffered from liver disease and depression)
  • In 1961 he committed suicide at age 61

Influence and Motivation

  • Hemingway was influenced heavily by his experiences in the Spanish Civil War and in World War I
  • Most of Hemingway's novels concern topics of adventure and manliness: war, sports, fishing, bullfighting etc
  • For example: A Farewell to Arms, The Sun Also Rises, The Old Man and the Sea
  • Hemingway's wives also gave him inspiration for characters and subject matter in his literature
  • During his time as part of the Lost Generation of expatriate writers in Paris, Hemingway learned much from fellow writers and experiences there
  • Motivation for Hemingway's writing sprung mainly from his desire to make his ideas and feelings immortal by retelling them through fiction- he felt as if he could leave his legacy among the pages of his books
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Parallels


  • Hemingway was brought up in an upper middle class family who appreciated hard work and strong values. The opportunities given to him to hunt and learn sports of the outdoors during his childhood years play out in the adventurer and outdoors man he was known to be. Hemingway fought in the war, went on safaris and enjoyed hunting big game and fishing. These pleasures eventually became topics of his books, but he would not have had the same hobbies had he been raised differently.
  • Since Hemingway went straight into the writing business out of high school, he had no college degree to fall back on. He developed most of his skills through experience and relied heavily on the hard working ethic he learned as a child to help him be successful
  • As a young adult, Hemingway's tragic love encounter with Agnes Von Kurowsky impacted his life forever. After having promised Hemingway her hand in marriage, Agnes contacted him saying she was already engaged to an Italian officer. In his pain, Hemingway started a pattern of leaving his wives before they could leave him, ultimately saving Hemingway a life of loneliness, mistrust, and depression.
  • Unfortunately Hemingway's struggle with alcohol and depression links directly back to his father. Ever since his father committed suicide, Hemingway began to think he would end his life the same way. This genetic addictive personality and high capacity for depression is not part of Hemingway's childhood rearing yet it definitely affected his future

Hemingway in the 1960's

If Hemingway were young and alive throughout the 1960's, I believe he would write a novel about the Vietnam War. Characterized by anti-war sentiments, the 1960's reflects some of the ideas Hemingway stood for. The protesters of the 60's would have identified with Hemingway's ideas even though he chose to express them differently. As a soldier, in writing books like A Farewell to Arms, Hemingway worked to expose his true feelings about war. The horror and sickness of life fighting on the front stuck with Hemingway and displayed itself throughout his writings. Hemingway would not have supported a war for seemingly "no purpose" as some viewed the war in Vietnam. So, if he had lived throughout the 60's, I am sure Hemingway would have spoken his part by way of novel.

If Claire Wilkin= Ernest Hemingway

If I had Hemingway's skills and insights as a writer I would probably dedicate my life to writing too. In contrast to Hemingway's life, however, I would not suffer from alcoholism or depression so my novels could cover more happy and uplifting subjects. I would travel around hunting, fishing, and enjoying the outdoors to find inspiration for my heavily symbolic novels. More so than Hemingway did in A Farewell to Arms, I would add elements of family and community into my works because those are characteristic elements of my life. Hopefully I would be able to express my feelings in the same profound way that Hemingway expressed his. It would truly be a gift and an honor to have the gifts Hemingway had at my disposal.

Historiography

Summation “Love and War in the Pages of Mr. Hemingway”

Upon reading the novel A Farewell to Arms Percy Hutchinson discusses the positive and negative elements of the novel. As a member of society in 1929, the year A Farewell to Arms was published, Hutchinson speculates how successful the novel will be in the future. In his mind, the novel adds another title to the ever-growing list of war novels that will fade into history as one unit. What makes the book stand out, however, is how Hemingway so artfully discusses a front and time period within the war that not many authors have discussed. According to Hutchinson, the most eloquent part of the seemingly simple plot is the more complex love story sewn into the pattern of war. The truths about war that Hemingway represented through a simplistic, minimalist plot caught Hutchinson’s attention and earned his respect. Despite his recognition of Hemingway’s well established plot, Hutchinson believes that Hemingway has been given false credit for inventing staccato natured sentences.(Periodic) As an individual, Percy Hutchinson admires the implementation of these sentences, yet he feels that they take away from the warmth and humanity of literature. So much more could Hemingway do with the tragic love story of Henry and Ms. Barkley had he only lent more luster to his sentence structure. Overall, Hutchinson recognizes the beauty and simplicity of A Farewell to Arms. Driven by a deep respect for the eloquence and truth so evenly distributed throughout the pages(past participial phrase), Hutchinson is able to truly appreciate Hemingway’s modern, symbolic take on the Italian front of World War I.

https://www.nytimes.com/books/99/07/04/specials/hemingway-farewell.html

(Separate Citation For Article)

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Political Cartoon

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Symbols:

Fish- Hemingway (blue to represent how despression consumed him)

Cup of beer- Hemingway was held back from embracing the joys and passions of his life by alcoholism

mountains, rainbows, hearts, fishing boat- all represent his joys and passions that he could not embrace fully because of lost love, depression and alcoholism.

Meaning:

Hemingway's life was characterized by love of adventure and activity. Unfortunately, Hemingway's life was also marked with a heavy lineup of alcoholism and depression. In the end, the alcoholism and depression led to illness and eventually suicide that kept Hemingway from enjoying a long life filled with the things he loved. What he resorted to for comfort and consolance ended up being the very noose around his neck.

Context- Post War America

During the time in which A Farewell to Arms was written, society in America and around the world experienced drastic political, economic, and social change. In this post-war era, characterized by economic dominance and racy mass culture, women were beginning to receive new freedoms. The Women's Christian Temperance Union fought to establish prohibition and exhibited the power women now held to change society. Mob violence and crime associated with the 20's points directly back to the prohibition movement. Leaders like Al Capone ran high market bootlegging scandals, contributing to the mass rebellion against anti- alcoholic sentiments. Introduction of African-American influenced Jazz music revolutionized social interaction. Clubs, dances and flashier clothing made themselves prevalent in this. Novels like The Great Gatsby characterized this mass culture. On the other side of the spectrum, during this decade a group of expatriate American writers in Paris, called the Lost Generation, wrote with with a tone of loss and despair to express their feelings about the war. This agglomeration of feelings and ideas, of passions and hobbies characterizes the 20's in a profound way and influenced the people who lived and breathed this era.

Themes

Hemingway relies heavily on symbolism to deepen his simple plots. This often results in the construction of themes throughout his novel.

Nature: Especially through the weather, Hemingway utilizes aspects of nature to convey changes in plot and character. For example, whenever it rains, it signifies misfortune is to come- jaundice, departure, death, danger. Catherine once tells Henry that she's scared of the rain because she always sees herself dead in it. In the end, once she dies, it begins to rain fulfilling that theme. Also, Henry passes through a river twice signifying baptism- once it is a cleansing and escape from service in the army, second it signifies his new life with Catherine in Switzerland. Often it seems like its raining through the entire novel because misfortune occurs frequently. In this way, Hemingway uses nature as an out of control reminder of the misfortune of life and a vehicle for change and new life.

Alcoholism: It seems that every other paragraph in A Farewell to Arms involves someone drinking or serving alcohol. The pattern repeats itself over and over of soldiers drinking away their nights and their sorrows. Even the civilians- this culture of drinking to drink and to feel something is evident throughout the novel. Hemingway as an alcoholic implements this into the main character Henry because Henry is a parallel to himself. Even when the alcohol has caused Henry liver disease (jaundice) and he must stop drinking it he continues to drink out of necessity. The sickness of war drove Henry to drink and Hemingway wants the world to understand the effects of war.

War: Since this book is based around the subject of war, the topic comes up a lot in the novel. Hemingway wants to reveal the brutal reality of war to the public. Purposefully, Hemingway leaves in the cruel aspects of war that are unavoidably real to demonstrate how war in all forms is horrible. When Aymo is shot on accident and Henry must watch him die, when Henry watches a man bleed to death, when Henry must continue working through the pain of shrapnel in his leg- all of these incidents point towards the unfairness that wartime brings.

Love: Hemingway personally experienced so much trauma in love that he associates love with pain and hurt. Throughout this book you see the theme of love and loss- Henry is constantly in fear of losing his loved one Catherine. It seems that something must come up or something must be taken away from a love so sweet as theirs. The passion and feeling they have for each other evolves throughout the novel into the singles sustaining element of their being.In the end, the hurt Hemingway associates with love is fulfilled in Catherine's death.

Manhood: In each element of Henry's character growth through the story, Hemingway paints a picture of ideal manhood. In most ways, Henry represents everything a man should not be- he is a coward and a failure. Henry shows cowardice in his unwillingness to fight, his inability to provide well for Catherine, his weakness for drink and in injury. Hemingway was raised with ideas of what manhood should be and I think he wanted to represent the effects of war on manhood. Right before Catherine passes away Henry sees a stray dog picking at the trash and tells it 'there's nothing here for you'- the stray dog represents Henry. That's all that Henry is- whatever's left of a man who has nothing to live for and no fulfilled dreams.

Reflection of the 1920s

Hemingway's A Farewell To Arms represents the somewhat racy mass culture of the Roaring Twenties. His nontraditional style and free discussion of sex and alcohol in the novel represent the developing 'modern' culture of this time. Women in A Farewell To Arms participated in the war effort symbolizing the New Woman that the 20s introduced. In this post-war era of dramatic social and political change, A Farewell to Arms discusses the feelings and experiences of soldiers on the front. Hemingway's heavy discussion of alcohol within the book displays his desire to break away from the captivity of 20's prohibition.For Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms is a way to express the wartime sentiments he felt and give them immortality.

A Farewell To Arms in 17th Century America

If A Farewell to Arms were introduced to Puritan society in 17th century America, its popularity would have been drastically less. Rigid Puritan standards and strict standards on "what is acceptable" would be the exact opposite of Hemingway's style. The open discussion of sex, pleasure, alcohol, and sinful behavior in Hemingway's novel would have been abhorrent to the Puritan parents, yet may have been exactly what rebellious teenagers wanted to get their hands on. Although topic and themes within the book point directly away from religion and society as the Puritans held dear, Hemingway's use of direct simple sentences to get his point across mirror the black and white elements of Puritan society. Unfortunately, the subject and content of A Farewell to Arms are to modernist and not traditional enough to fit the high standards of 17th century Puritan society.

Style

  • Hemingway is known famously for his short declarative sentences- a skill he learned while working for the Kansas City Star
  • Specifically in A Farewell to Arms he writes in an objective point of view making his novels almost like a movie- you only find out things as they happen, there is no forethought or forward narration.
  • Utilizes heavy symbolism and repetition to make his seemingly simple plots profound and meaningful
  • This type of literature takes some "decoding"- you must spend time examining the patterns and symbols to truly understand Hemingway's feelings
  • Often Hemingway uses one sided conversations where you just receive the questions and thoughts of one person in the conversation, yet he still allows complete understanding.
  • As part of the Lost Generation Hemingway and the other expatriate writers wrote in a non-traditional way, lacing their writing with moods of despair and loss of values
  • Hemingway is know also as a Modernist with his minimalist, non traditional approach to writing
  • His less conservative writing made his writing approachable to readers- often talked of sex, love, war, and alcohol which strayed from traditional style.

Hemingway vs Other Writers

Compared to writers like Hawthorne and Miller, Hemingway stands out. The style of writing necessary for plays and the theater that Miller so heavily relied on implements mostly dialogue to get the point across. In contrast, Hemingway spends much time in the pensive mind of his main character. Often times, Hemingway uses one sided conversations that lend the reader understanding but in a non-traditional way. Hawthorne and Miller resort to very conventional methods of writing to which Hemingway does not. His characteristic objective point of view and short declarative sentences create a completely different mood and perspective for the reader than the works of Hawthorne or Miller do. Although they differ in stylistic elements, Miller's satirical take on the witch trials as a parallel to McCarthyism achieve a similar effect to what Hemingway looked to do in A Farewell to Arms- to expose the flaws in the mindset of society whether about communism or war. Overall, Hemingway exhibits a distinct style that is unparalleled( probably why he was so famous!), but like other authors, Hemingway uses literature to argue a personal idea to the public audience.

Annotated Excerpt

  • Note especially:
  • repetition of conjunctions (polysyndeton)
  • anadiplosis
  • objective POV
  • parallel between death and life drawn through comparison of bulging bags of weapons to pregnant bellies
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