Life and Career of Ernest Hemingway

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On the date of July 21, 1899 Ernest Hemingway, a now known brilliant writer, was born. Hemingway was conceivably the only writer to achieve the combination of international celebrity and literary stature in the twentieth century. Hemingway was brought up in the village of Oak Park, Illinois, close to the prairies and woods west of Chicago. Both here and in Michigan, he could explore, camp, fish and hunt with his father, Dr. Clarence Hemingway.

In Chicago he would attend concerts, operas and visit art museums with his mother, a musician and an artist. Hemingway attended Oak Park and River Forest High School, where he was an active writer. He wrote articles, poems and stories for the school’s publications largely based on his own experiences. The year Hemingway graduated he quickly secured a job with the Kansas City Star. There he received a writing style sheet that instructed: “Use short sentences. Use short first paragraphs. Use vigorous English.” (Parshall 1).

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These were rules he never forgot to incorporate into his works to get to the heart of a story. The following year he entered World War I as a volunteer with American Red Cross ambulance unit as a driver. There he was wounded near the Italian/Austrian front. Hospitalized, he fell in love with his nurse, who later called off their relationship. After World War I, Hemingway returned to northern Michigan to read, write, fish, and later to work for the Toronto Star in Canada.

In 1921 married his first wife and moved to Paris. In Paris he continued to write for the Toronto Star as a foreign During his stay in Europe through the 1920’s, Ernest was influenced by eccentric writers like Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound their literary compression. Hemingway’s use of these methods in short stories and novels that captured the attention of critics and the In the 1930’s, he turned to writing for causes, including democracy as he knew it in the Spanish Civil War and World War II.

In each conflict he sought support for the side he favored. But he insisted on impartially describing the truth of both wars, which he knew In the years following World War II, many critics said Hemingway’s best writing was past. He surprised many of the critics when the novel, The Old Man and the Sea, was published.. This work led to his Pulitzer Prize in 1952.

Two years later he received the Nobel Prize for his “powerful, style-making mastery of the art or modern narration” (Griffin 1) for The Old Man and the Sea. Hemingway’s years following these awards saw few works as successful as his novel or earlier writings. Hemingway was devastated that he could no longer write as he once did. During 1961 Hemingway, troubled by high blood pressure and mental depression, received shock treatments during two long confinements at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

He died July 2, 1961 at his home in Ketchum, Idaho, as a result of self-inflicted gunshot wounds and was buried in Ketchum. But as he had hoped, his writing lives on. His works continue to sell very well and are translated in an amazing variety of languages around the world. “For Ernest Hemingway, the secondary world which he constructed in his many stories and novels served as a mirror to reflect his beliefs about the world in which he lived” (Relations to Fact Through Fiction 1).

Even though he reflected his beliefs in his works he never portrayed himself as the hero. Instead Hemingway created a hero that followed the same general code in all of his works. We generally, call this man the “code hero”—this because he represents a code according to which the hero, if he could attain it, would be able to live properly in the world of violence, disorder, and misery to which he has been introduced and which he inhabits.

The code hero, then, offers up and exemplifies certain principles of honor, courage, and endurance which in a life of tension and pain make a man, as we say, and enable him to conduct himself well in the losing battle that is The Hemingway hero of “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” is Harry. Harry is self pitying and views his present diseased state as the culmination of poor choices and false, convenient values.

However, through final, confrontation with his own mortality, he In “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” Francis is the Hemingway hero because he had courage and faced his fears. If Francis would not have went out on the safari the last time and had so much courage his wife would not have shot him. Mrs. Macomber killed him because she could no longer rule him. With Francis gaining so much self-esteem he no longer sat back and let his wife cheat on him, without confronting her.

The Italian soldiers in “In Another Country” are the heroes because they were not afraid to die. The three boys went to war and returned back to Milan with medals for their Santiago from “The Old Man and the Sea” is a hero because he was courageous and was not afraid of death. Santiago went out to sea, never gave up, and knew he could Ole Anderson of “The Killers” does not whimper. He takes the medicine quietly and is not afraid of death.

In “A Farewell to Arms” Henry is not afraid to face death. He went to war. Later he deserted the Italian Army, knowing that he faced death. He dove into the river and escaped. He swam to safety and boarded a train to Stresa where he Hemingway did not only create characters but created himself. The meaning to that is that he took his life and intertwined it not only into one of his stories but almost all As a writer, Hemingway drew heavily upon his war experiences, as is seen in his earlier works that speak of men and women deprived, by World War I, of faith in the moral values in which they had believed, as well as, of those who lived with hostile disregard for anything but their own emotional needs.

Many of the situations and characters in A Farewell to Arms came from Hemingway’s own experience with the war in Italy. Not long after high school Hemingway volunteered as a Red Cross ambulance driver in 1917. Just like Frederick in the story he is seriously wounded and taken to get medical care. Henry was posted in northern Italy and, like Hemingway, received a wound from a mortar round. Even the details of the wound to the leg are based exactly on the novelist’s own injury. While Hemingway was recovering he fell in love like Henry.

The only exception to that is that the woman Hemingway fell in love with ran off and became engaged to an Italian nobleman. “He also drew upon his love of fishing, hunting, and bull fighting, where his writings tell of men with simple characters and primitive emotions, such as prizefighters and bullfighters” (Roberts 8).

He wrote of their courageous and usually futile battles against circumstances. In The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other stories Hemingway looked back on his African safaris from 1934. Most of the source material for The Old Man and the Sea comes from Hemingway’s own experiences fishing off the coast of Cuba. Hemingway spent more than two decades of his life living on the island, and fishing was one of his favorite activities. Another episode in 1940 may have also served as a source for the novel.

Hemingway witnessed a man and a boy in a small boat being dragged by a fish that the man had hooked. When Hemingway approached to try to help, the man had screamed at him to stay away. Hemingway watched the struggle for half the day, finally pulling his own boat close enough to throw some provisions into the boat of the embattled fisherman and boy. Beginning with the illustrative story and perhaps this experience, Hemingway added deeper elements from the environment to flesh out Santiago’s character and develop the action of In “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” Harry himself regards his life as a failure. “He has prostituted his art”: each day of not writing, of comfort, of being that which he despised, dulled his ability and softened his will to work so that, finally, he did no work at all.

The months and years of idleness slip by. He never acts, he never loves, he never carries out his plans. He returns to Africa simply because he had once been happy there, and he thinks perhaps there he can work the fat off his soul. Scorning the challenge of real life all around him, he postpones writing the stories he knows, and he postpones loving an eminently lovable woman simply because she is his and is available at the present moment

. Harry then becomes infected with the disease called gangrene. He lays on his cot where he flashes back to scenes from his life that he has saved to write, taking pleasure in their recall but knowing he will never write about them. He dreams of his younger days when he was capable of fulfilling and remaining true to his talent. Therefore the theme is don’t put off what you could have done today to do tomorrow. Always have courage and face your fears in life is the lesson from “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber”.

Francis Macomber was a wealthy American on a safari with his beautiful, unloving wife, Margot. On one of the first days out Macomber flees away as fast as possible to get away from the lion instead of shooting due to his fears. This is similar to how he ignores his wife’s cheating habits instead of confronting her. Later on Macomber has the chance to live up to his fears again which he does, by facing a buffalo and his wife (when he realized she was in Wilson’s tent one night). You may not always know one’s true background and what is really happening in their life. That is a theme for “In Another Country”.

The narrator for the story is in Milan for rehabilitation where he meets an Italian Soldier, a champion fencer, whose hand has been wounded while at war that is also in rehabilitation. The recovering of his hand does not seem to have the slimmest effect on him at all. That does not seem to be right thought the narrator, for a champion fencer to lose his hand and not care. The narrator works at his rehabilitation while the soldier believes it will never work. One day while the narrator is working at his rehabilitation he starts to give up hope.

The soldier then starts yelling at him about how dumb he is because eventually it will work. The soldier goes to make a phone call after the fight. After his phone call he apologizes to the narrator for yelling and tells him that he has just lost his wife. The narrator then realizes that the soldier wasn’t worried about losing his hand he was more worried about Never give up no matter what the odds point to. This theme refers back to “The Old Man and the Sea”. Santiago went over 80 days without catching fish, but he would not give up.

People would talk about him, but he still went on and didn’t let them get to him. When Santiago set out on the eighty-fifth day he never thought about catching a marlin as big as he did. After being out for several days people were amazed when he returned home with the marlin skeleton, even though it was just the skeleton. People told Lost love can be found but not always kept. This theme acquired from “A Farewell to Arms”. When Henry and Catherine meet for the first time Henry tries to seduce her. Henry then has to leave for war. Henry then was sent to Milan after leg wounds to recover. That is where he meets up with her again by a coincidence.

There they began a passionate affair and fall deeply in love with each other. Henry is then sent back to war after his recuperation. Henry is so much in love he deserts the Italian Army and escapes to Stresa to reunite with Catherine. Catherine at this point is pregnant with their child. They escape to Switzerland together where Catherine goes into labor. Things go terribly wrong while in labor and both Catherine and the baby dies. The theme for “The Killers” is sometimes death isn’t supposed to happen. Ole wasn’t at the restaurant where he normally goes the night Al and Max planned on killing “In Hemingway the symbols are implicit: they follow the laws of reality to such degree that in themselves they form a whole, full-blooded story” (Esther Murer 4).

The reader is at “liberty” to discover that he is dealing with very profound and true symbols. Most readers do not discover it at all, and read Hemingway just about the same way they Like the Macombers, Harry and Helen would seem to be an ideal couple with everything to live for. But Harry is a morally sick man; his physical wound is symbolic of his inner illness. The wound to his leg epitomize his sickness, for it is a type of wound and has been subconsciously self-inflicted. (Harry had neglected a thorn scratch and then treated it improperly.) Like Francis Macomber he has been partially responsible for the loss of his manhood, and he has, or imagines he has, a devouring mate eager to seize any sexual advantage. (The Snows of Kilimanjaro)

In “In Another Country” a symbol is when the Italian soldier returns three days after, after hearing his wife was dead wearing a black band on his sleeve to signify Santiago is a symbol of Jesus showing how both of them went through so much suffering. When he returns home after catching the marlin he carries part of the boat up over his shoulder and that symbolizes Jesus being crucified.

Santiago has to stop several times to take a drink of water symbolizing the people giving Jesus a drink while he was on When Catherine dies, Henry is forced to face death. It said her body was like a In “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” Harry is the type of man that believes he can handle anything that he doesn’t have to worry about those so-called “minor” things in life. Due to his carelessness he became infected with gangrene. As a result to his heedless actions he died because he never took care of a “minor” thing.

In “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” it’s ironic how Macomber first fails and then succeeds in hunting, develops self-respect, but has his life ended just when it began to be enjoyable. What is meant by that is that Macomber first scurries away from his fears. He then becomes so fed up with his wife’s comments he goes out and challenges his fears by winning, and gains self-esteem. His wife is so distraught that he did this that she “In Another Country” a soldier , a champion fencer, went to war knowing he was facing death but didn’t worry about it. As a result he had to leave war because he had a wounded hand and had to be put in rehabilitation.

At this point he was aware of the fact that his wife was sick. He went to phone her and was then notified by the doctor that she The irony of “The Old Man and the Sea” is that Santiago worked so hard to keep the marlin and all he returns home with is the skeleton. It all began on Santiago’s eighty-fifth day he caught a marlin bigger than any other marlin he has ever seen.

Santiago goes through two days and two nights of the pain of his shoulders, back, and hands because the marlin is to big to just tie the line to the boat. When he finally kills the marlin he ties it to the boat. Later sharks come along and take the marlin bite by bite. He was able to kill only a couple of the sharks but then he became to be too much. Eventually there was nothing left of the marlin but the skeleton. It’s ironic how Henry and Catherine go through so much together but yet can’t spend many years together. They are only together for a short time but still have a deep In “The Killers” it’s ironic how where Ole was supposed to be killed was a saloon.

A saloon used to be a place where shootings happened a lot. It’s also ironic how Ole didn’t show the night the men planned on killing him. In both “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” and “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” the setting is in Africa during the 1920’s while game hunting with their wives coming along on the trip.

The importance of the setting in “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” is that if Francis did not go on the safari he would have never conquered his fears. If Harry had never returned to Africa, he would have never been Both “A Farewell to Arms” and “In Another Country” takes place in Milan during World War I and II.

All the main characters are at the health centers either working or “The Killers” took place in an American city around the 1920’s. “The Old Man and the Sea” takes place off the coast of Cuba where Santiago catches the Marlin. Santiago is from a small fishing town that doesn’t have much to offer. Most of the people around there fish for a living. With Santiago going eighty-four days without catching any fish it is hard for him to survive. If it wasn’t for Manolin he would have nothing to eat and no way of buying fishing bait. In A Farewell To Arms the novel follows the classic romance formula until Hemingway alters the last chapter.

The classic romance formula to many would be: man meets woman, man loses woman, man gets women back. The man in this novel is Frederick Henry, one of the central characters and the narrator. Catherine Barkley is the Frederick is a young American ambulance driver with the Italian army in World War I. The Italians are fighting in the Austrian War. While working on the front lines Frederick meets a beautiful Red Cross nurse named Catherine Barkley, whose fiancee has already been killed at the battle of the Somme.

Henry is immediately attracted to her and at first tries to seduce her as if it was a game to him. Henry becomes wounded by a trench mortar shell and is taken to a hospital in Milan to recuperate, there he meets up with Catherine again who is working at the hospital. Henry and Catherine begin a passionate affair but he has to leave Catherine when he has recovered to return to the war front. The Italian forces are defeated by the Austrians and Germans and have to retreat hastily.

The Italian forces become disordered and chaotic. Henry is forced to shoot an engineer sergeant under his command. In the confusion he is arrested by the Italian Military police and charged with the crime of not being an Italian. Henry , knowing he faces death, dives into the river and escapes. He swims to safety and boards a train to Stresa. He reunites with Catherine, who is then pregnant with With the help of an Italian bartender, they escape to Switzerland, a neutral country war. In Switzerland they forget the past and Henry’s troubles. The two of them live happily and plan to marry after the baby is born. When Catherine goes into labor, however, things have an unexpectable turn, a turn for the worse.

The doctor announced that her pelvic was too narrow to deliver the baby. He attempts an unsuccessful Cesarean section, and Catherine dies in childbirth. “To Henry, her dead body is like a statue; he walks back to his hotel without finding a way to…


  1. The Hemingway Code. Relations to Fact Through Fiction.
  2. Hemingway, Ernest. A Farewell to Arms. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995.
  3. Hemingway, Ernest. The Old Man and the Sea. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995.
  4. Hemingway, Ernest. The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1970.
  5. Martinetti, Ron. American Authors. Hemingway: A Look Back. Gale Group, 2000.
  6. Murer, Esther. Jens Bjorneboe. Hemingway and the Beasts. Esther Greenleag Murer. Pax Forlag. 1972.
  7. Parshall, Gerald. Papa and All His Children. U.S. News. 1998.
  8. A Short Biography of Author Ernest hemingway. Ed. Redd F. Griffin. 1999.


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