In 1917, young Hemingway joined the army and hoped to fight in World War I. Instead, he was rejected and sent out due to his inadequate vision. Resolute in his desire to see action, Ernest volunteered as an ambulance driver in Italy. Here he drank with his fellow drivers and still longed for excitement. The excitement came when, as the ambulances were called to the front line, Hemingway suffered a heavy leg injury from an exploding Austrian mortar. It was amongst all of this conflict that he met Agnes von Kurowsky, his first love and the model for Catherine Barkley in his future novel: A Farewell to Arms. Ernest hoped for a life with Agnes, and wrote to her following his return to America. Twenty-seven year old Agnes realized that an eight year gap in age wouldn’t be suitable, and told Hemingway of her decision via letter.
“I am writing this late at night after a long think by myself, and I am afraid it is going to hurt you, but, I 'm sure it won 't harm you permanently. . . can you forgive me some day for unwittingly deceiving you? You know I 'm not really bad, and don 't mean to do wrong, and now I realize it was my fault in the beginning that you cared for me, and regret it from the bottom of my heart.” – Agnes von Kurowsky
Ernest’s experience in America became even rougher when hi...
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...r, flew in the air force, and resolved to fight in other such roles, all illegally. Following the war, he was charged in court for impersonating a qualified officer and for abusing laws and regulations regarding his involvement in the infantry and air force. However, with the support of his high-ranking friends, he was cleared of all charges and awarded a bronze star for his courage.
In 1946, when Martha was ready to divorce Hemingway, Ernest met Marsha Welsh. Differential, altruistic, and always putting Ernest’s interests above her own, Marsha aimed to be the perfect Mrs. Hemingway. “I wanted him to be the master, for him to be stronger and cleverer than I. To remember constantly how big he was, and how small I was.” Their marriage consisted of heavy drinking, which often led to violent arguments. Despite this, Marsha was determined to be the last Mrs. Hemingway.
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