Ernest Hemingway’s influence on the development of American literature is immeasurable, and his achievements as a novelist and a short story writer have never been put into question. His narrative art possesses a unique sensibility and insight into the lives of his characters…
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A writer’s work always depicts his life and it is only a question of finding the right references. Hemingway’s dramatic and adventurous life style had always put him in the spotlight, and besides being a writer for forty years, his other careers included being a “hunter, fisherman, skier, boxer, reporter, soldier, bull-ring and saloon aficionado” (Waldhorn 3). His soldier’s resume includes “service as an ambulance driver for the Italians in WWI (with an honorable wound); activity as a war correspondent in the Greek-Turkish War (1922), the Spanish Civil War (1937-39); the Chinese-Japanese War (1941) and the war against Hitler in Europe (1944-45)” (Bloom 5). In his novels A Farewell to Arms and The Sun Also Rises Hemingway he speaks of a generation who has fought in the war(s), just like him and has become disillusioned by its aftereffects. The war does not symbolize the same thing for people who have survived it in the comfort of their own home or town, and for those who went out into the battlefield and saw death, despair and the crumbling of old values. War changes people and it is exactly this change for the worse that Hemingway aimed to portray in his novels. Just like Faulkner, Cummings and other writers using similar themes, Hemingway “had presented the pathos and endurance and gallantry of the individual caught and mangled in the great anonymous mechanism of a modern war fought for the reasons that the individual could not understand, found insufficient to justify the event or believed to be no reasons at all” (Warren 25). Thus, all these young men were sent to the battlefield with a burning heart to right wrongs. Yet, in the end, they finally realized that they did not understand what wrongs they were supposed to right and this led to the destruction of everything they used to believe in, because their ideals were no longer valid, no longer relevant. What they believed was a sham, and the aftermath of the war had stripped their ideals naked and showed the people the ugly truth. They were not offered a reason, a direction their changed life was supposed to take. It was easy for everyone to continue on after the war, but for the soldiers it was close to impossible. They became “the lost generation” as Gertrude Stein named them (Warren 26). They had lost their youth, their innocence and purity of emotion, and all they could expect from life was misery. Because, how can a man like Jake Barnes from the Sun Also Rises continue with his life normally, when he suffered the strongest blow a man can endure: the loss of his manhood? Many critics believed that Hemingway perceived the world as male-centered and that this emasculation was the result of a generation of wounded soldiers, like Jake, and the generation of women who sought to be liberated from the conventional perception of what a woman is. This was the time of female emancipation, when women like Brett, also from The Sun Also Rises, presented liberated female sexuality, a threat to the patriarchal society Hemingway firmly believed in. He had four marriages, three of which ended in a divorce. His relationship with women was that of dependence and his work offers instances of him eager to free himself from this dependence (Spilka 146). Women of Hemingway’s literature are mostly dependent on their male counterparts, but there is also the other side of the medal, presenting women like Brett as a destructive force. The dependent women include instances such as the young woman in Hills
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His mother often bullied his father and this made Ernest have an unhappy childhood. He was fond of his dad who occasionally encouraged him to develop interest in outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting and swimming(Cleanth pp.6). He therefore spent most of his early childhood in the woods among the Indians in the north of Michigan.
They are wandering from place to place in Paris, always drinking heavily, without certain meaning and direction, truly representing a lost generation. Brett’s unwillingness towards a relationship constantly reminds Jake of his impotence, but he truly loves her no matter how badly she treats him.
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Ernest Hemingway’s personal life was colorful and heroic. In the story “Hills Like White Elephants”, Hemingway cleverly articulates as to how the women, whether traditional or modern, have mostly been at the receiving end and menfolk are not
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