Ernest Hemingway: A Life that Led to Naturalism

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Writers of literature such as Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) often exemplify philosophical ideas through their works. Hemingway was a critically acclaimed American author who wrote short stories and multiple renowned novels. His self described “ice-berg” method of writing allowed his literature to appear straightforward on the surface, while still providing an extensive depth of connotative meaning underneath his seemingly simple style (Oliver 322). A few of Hemingway’s most popular works center around the theme of an inescapable cycle of life, as well as the harsh reality of the world. He lived an adventurous, unconventional life that was stained by alcoholism and depression; still, he had the unique ability to appeal to an entire generation. Hemingway’s writings of futile effort and the inevitable events of life are staples of the literary philosophy of naturalism; his hobbies, lifestyle, and tragic experiences throughout life molded his outlook on the world which he presented in his novel The Old Man and the Sea.
The harsh depiction of the world that Hemingway presents in his works label him as a naturalist writer. Naturalism flourished in Europe in the late nineteenth-century. Inspired by authors such as Emile Zola, who is “often pinpointed as the genesis of the Naturalist movement,” naturalism’s influence quickly spread to other countries (Rahn). The movement arrived in America with the contributions of authors such as Stephen Crane, Frank Norris, and Theodore Dreiser, who were considered to be the forerunners of American naturalism (Rahn). Naturalist writing is objective observation that focuses on the truthfulness of reality. The setting and story are often portrayed in a pessimistic light while still retaining realism. One o...

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...aim to show that people are dictated by the world they live in. Hemingway focused on the inescapable circumstances of life and the futility involved in attempting to break free. Hemingway’s own life was full of uncontrollable events that led to mental, physical, and emotional illness. His harsh life gave birth to writing that, through the naturalistic perspective, evokes the same sense of tragedy that Hemingway experienced. Hemingway’s literary accomplishments have placed him as one of America’s most renowned authors. Although he became a victim of himself, his stories were at the forefront of a new era of literature. Ernest Hemingway believed all men were the same in death, “It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another” (Hotchner Forward). Truly, his legacy is one that countless people have have, and will, learn from.

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