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Hemingway And Symbolism

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Ernest Hemingway and SymbolismErnest Miller Hemingway is a well-known American author who wrote in thetwentieth century. He has written several novels such as, A Farewell to Arms, For Whomthe Bell Tolls, and The Old Man and the Sea. The Sun Also Rises was finished on April1, 1926 and was published in October of 1926. The Sun AlsoRises was Hemingway’s expression of his own life. He had changed the names of hisfriends and some of the details, but the real identities of the characters were obvious toanyone in Paris.

The Sun Also Rises encapsulates the angst of thepost-World War I generation, know as the Lost Generation. This poignantly beautifulstory of a group of American and English expatriates on a sojourn from Paris toPamplona represents a dramatic step forward for Hemingway’s evolving style. FeaturingLeft Bank Paris in the 1920’s and brutally realistic descriptions of bullfighting in Spain,the story is about the flamboyant Lady Brett Ashley and the hapless Jake Barnes. Ernest Miller Hemingway is an American author who has penned several novels andshort stories; one of his works is The Sun Also Rises.

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Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois. Hemingway wasraised with the conservative Midwestern values of strong religion, hard work, physicalfitness and self-determination; if one adhered to these parameters, he was taught, hewould be ensured of success in whatever field he chose . As a boy, he wastaught by his father to hunt and fish. When he wasn’t hunting or fishing his mother taughthim the finer points of music. Hemingway never had a knack for music and sufferedthrough choir practices and cello lessons, however the musical knowledge he acquiredfrom his mother helped him share in his first wife Hadley’s interest in the piano.

Hemingway received his formal schooling in the Oak Park public school system. In highschool he was mediocre at sports, playing football, swimming, water basketball andserving as the track team manager. He also worked on the school newspaper called theTrapeze. Hemingway graduated in the spring of 1917 and instead of going to college thefollowing fall like his parents expected; he took a job as a reporter for the Kansas CityStar. Hemingway signed up as a volunteer ambulance driver for theRed Cross during WWI. He was accepted in December of 1917, left his job atthe paper in April of 1918, and sailed for Europe in May. When Hemingway returnedhome from Italy in January of 1919 he found Oak Park dull compared to the adventuresof war. With a letter of introduction from Sherwood Anderson, Hemingway met someof Paris’ prominent writers and artists and forged quick friendships with them during hisfirst few years. Counted among those friends were Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, SylviaBeach, James Joyce, Max Eastman, Lincoln Steffens and Wyndahm Lewis, and he wasacquainted with the painters Miro and Picasso. Hemingway was inspired to writedifferent works at different times because of the events that occured in his life.

Hemingway died July 2, 1961, at his home, as the result of self-inflicted gunshot wounds.

Ernest Hemingway had a different style of writing than the other authors in histime. The Sun Also Rises is the book that established Hemingway as a literary force andit introduced the world to the Lost Generation. The Lost Generation isreferred to as the disillusioned that fought in the war. Two of the novel’s maincharacters, Lady Brett Ashley and Jake Barnes, typify the Lost Generation. Thisbook has a lot of thematic issues, but the reader really needs to think to be able to pick upon all of them. Friendship, stoicism, and natural grace under pressure are offered asthe values that matter in an otherwise amoral often-senseless world . His mind is seton writing only. The only thing Hemingway thought about was writing and finishingThe Sun Also Rises. The writing is as strong and powerful as a swift kick to the head. This quote is referring to Hemingway’s strong and complex style of writing.

Hemingway writes about the dreariness of everyday life but it is interesting at theemphasis on drinking during the age of prohibition. The only failing is that themessages he delivers are a little empty in that we know he delivers them in a way that welike. His morals are hard to understand unless you can achieve his state of mind.

The main characters of the novel are Jake Barnes, Brett Ashley, Robert Cohn, and PedroRomero. While the characters are realistically drawn, each has a sort of representativequality that defines his or her relationship with the group and with the age in which thenovel is set. Jake Barnes has his war wound, which robs him of the ability to have sexthough not the desire; he is capable of survival and communication though notregeneration. Robert Cohn’s Jewishness marks him for exclusion and underlines thesnobbishness of this circle even in its apparent informality. However, he is alienated moreby his stubborn chivalry and romanticism, expressed in his constant seriousness and hisobsessive attachment to Brett. Brett is the promiscuous femme fatale; Mike is theindiscreet alcoholic; Bill Gorton is the perceptive joker (who makes the sustainedreference to stuffed dogs). The overall plot concern of understanding is summarized bythe minor but important character of the count: That is the secret. You must get to knowthe values. He has searched for meaning all of his life and has found itin understanding the values. Most of the other characters have yet to find the values. Jakeis still stuck in the past, unable to get beyond the permanence of his war wound. Yet, hecan still envision of future with Brett. Brett, who will always remain in her conquests’memories, is trying to forget herself in drink and meaningless sex. In spite of this, she canclearly and accurately visualize the improbability of any future with Jake. One of themain themes of The Sun Also Rises is impotence. Not only Jake’s physical impotence, butalso the powerlessness of the bull in the face of its imminent cruel death, the characters’barrenness of emotion and lack of sensitivity, their ineffectiveness, alcoholism, andfailure to work out some sort of meaningful personal philosophy and an exhaustedcynicism”. Hemingway shows war wounds as the destroyer of love: Jake pursues lovewithout sex and Brett pursues sex without love. Other themes found under the umbrellaof impotence are: lack of family, rootlessness, nihilism, and alienation, being fromsomewhere else and being cut off from the past. It is the cyclical nature of the novel,heralded in the second epigraph (from Ecclesiastics): One generation passeth away, andanother generation cometh; but the earth abideth forever . . . The sun also riseth, and thesun goeth down . . . All the rivers run into the sea . . . unto the place from whence therivers come, thither they return again. The Sun Also Rises was Hemingway’s best-selling novel and is still a popularbook today. The Sun Also Rises was about the events that were taking place inHemingway’s life. The Sun Also Rises can be related to real life by accepting the fact thatit was written from a man’s real life experience.

The symbolism in A Farewell to Arms is very much apparent. Ernest Hemingway has always been one who is big on the symbolism of night as being bad. To the main character in Hemingway’s novels, nights have always been a sign of death, or something negative to happen. Another one of the symbolisms in A Farewell to Arms is when Henry tries to escape from the Italian army by jumping off one of the ships the army was traveling on and running away from the army. This symbolism was the water that he jumped into was a symbolism of the new, clean life that he was going to live from now on. At this time, Henry goes off and finds his wife to be.

The material objects that Hemingway uses to convey the theme are beer, thegood and bad hillsides, and a railroad station between two tracks. The beerrepresents the couple’s, “the American” and “the girl’s”, usual routine activity they dotogether. This bothers the girl because “that’s all they do … look at things and trynew drinks.” This shows that the girl is tired of doing the same thing and wants to dosomething different, like having a baby and a family, instead of fooling around all thetime. She wants to stop being a girl and become a woman. Hemingway thenpresents the reader with two contrasting hills. One hill on one side of the station isdull, desolate, and barren; “it had no shade and no trees”, very desert like. However,the other hill on the other side of the station is beautiful, plentiful in nature, and had“fields of grain and tress along the banks of the Ebro River.” Also on each side of thestation where each hill is, there is a train track. These objects are symbolic devicesprepare the reader in realizing that the characters are in a place of decision. Therailroad station is a place of decision where one must decide to go one way or theother. The tracks symbolize either decision that the girl must make. By the looks ofthe environment around each track, it is clear what kind of destination each trackleads to. This proves that the girl must decide whether she wants her body and life tobecome barren and desolate or plentiful and beautiful. If she chooses abortion, then,of course, she will choose the track with the desolate hills because her body willbecome a barren desert where no life will abide. On the other hand if she wants tohave the baby, she will choose the track which is surrounded by the plentiful andbeautiful hills, because her body will be a genisis. Either way, this clearly conveys thetheme of abortion by showing that the girl must make a life or death decision.

Along with symbolic objects, three symbolic characters further develop thetheme of abortion. The three characters are “the girl”, “the American”, and “thewoman.” The girl symbolizes youth, innocence, and navety. She is ignorant to herfinal decision of having an abortion, because she is so young and is still in the primeof her life, experiencing new things everyday. Hemingway uses her to show a youngpregnant girl trying to decide if having the baby will ruin her youthfulness, ruin herrelationship, or in contrast make her a woman. She is getting tired of the same oldroutine, mentioned before, so her choice is to do something different, to have thebaby, to become a woman, and leave her childish ways for good. The only thing thatstands in her way of her decision is “the American.” The American symbolizes anindividualist who wants to do things his way. Usually Americans have a laid backattitude and don’t want to mess with anything complicated, as does the American inthis story. The American supports the theme by opposing the girl and saying that thebaby “is the only thing that bothers” them. He talks of a certain simple “Operation”in which the doctors will simply “let the air in.” “The American‘s” talk of the“Operation” further justifies abortion as the theme because the doctors putting theair inside of her, referrs to taking a fetus out of her womb. The man is moreconcerned with the effects of the baby ruining his life more than hers due to the factthat the man says the baby is the only thing that “bothers them, when in actualitythe woman approves of the baby. This also proves the “Operation” is an abortionbecause the usual case of abortions is: a woman gets pregnant, then the man getsscared, and tells the woman to get an abortion because the baby will ruin both oftheir lives. Next is the character of the woman who shows contrast, and supports thequalities of “the girl”. She is called “the woman” because she is older, and the readeris to assume, wiser, and experienced. The “girl” talks about “having a fine time” and“trying new drinks” which shows that she is still young, living a life of ease,experiencing a lot of things, where as the woman brings these “new drinks” to the girl. This displays the woman as mature, older, and experienced because she is workinginstead of “trying new drinks”, and “having a fine time.” She is no longer youndleisurely trying new drinks, she is working trying to earn a living. She is an indirectsupportive device of the theme in that she the opposite image of what the girl is. Thewoman further defines the symbolic qualities of the girl, in other words.

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Hemingway And Symbolism. (2018, Dec 30). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/hemingway-and-symbolism/

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