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The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway - Research Paper Example

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Course Date The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway Hemmingway’s The Snows of Kilimanjaro is set in Africa amongst an arguably “adventurous or dangerous” background (Vogelmann 2004, p. 1). Even so, the short story is heavily themed by a number of primary human motifs such as death, loss, culture, self-realization, love, and a general feeling for life itself (Vogelmann 2004, p…
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The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway
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Download file to see previous pages 191). In other words, Hemmingway’s The Snows of Kilimanjaro tells a story about writing and somehow links this story to human themes. To demonstrate the point, Becnel and Bloom (2009) draw attention to the following passage narrated by Harry and taken from The Snows of Kilimanjaro: We must all be cut out for what we do, he thought. However, you make your living is where your talent lies. He had sold vitality, in one form or another, all his life and when you affections are not too involved you give much better value for the money. He had found that out but he would never write that, now, either. No, he would not write that, although it was well worth writing (Hemmingway 2003, p. 12). Becnel and Bloom (2009) noted that from Harry’s perspective, he acknowledges that during his life as a soldier, writer and husband married into wealth he has been “selling vitality” his entire life (p. 191). Therefore Harry is able to connect the demands and passions in life via three seemingly unrelated factors: marriage, the military and writing. The connection begs inquiry in to how each of these factors relate to selling vitality. It is therefore first necessary to understand what Harry means by selling his vitality. Looking further into The Snows of Kilimanjaro some guidance can be found in the following excerpt: He had destroyed his talent himself – by not using it, by betrayals of himself and what he believed in, by drinking so much that he blunted the edge of his perceptions, by laziness, by sloth, by snobbery, by hook and by crook; selling vitality, trading it for security, for comfort (Hemmingway 2003, p. 11). This excerpt informs that selling vitality means sacrificing one’s own talents and ambitions in favour of security and at times in favour of other human frailties: laziness, greed and other exigencies of human weaknesses. In many ways these human exigencies are seductions and inevitably forced Harry to trade the vital elements of his life for greater comforts (Bush 1995, p. 26). Arguably, Harry was unable to succeed at or find complete satisfaction via marriage, soldiering and writing because he had sought comfort and security rather than the art of mastering each of these factors. The selling of vitality from Harry’s perspective thus informs that Harry sold or surrendered something of significance in his marriage, soldiering and writing. He therefore loses something of importance in each of these life roles. That something must be passion as, he suggests that a man must make his living where his talent lies and for Harry, his talent lies in trading vitality or sacrificing his real ambitions in favor of shortcuts to comfort and security. The suggestion is therefore that Harry’s life is disingenuous or at the very least the reader can form the opinion that Harry is only superficially happy as he has sacrificed what he really wants out of life for comfort and security. He has also allowed his pursuits to be compromised by the seductions that lead to or command shortcuts. His marriage into wealth may perhaps demonstrate the point best as he has obviously succumbed to a shortcut to material possessions or the seductions inherent in sloth. Soldiering would obviously provide Harry with material for his ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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