The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway

836 Words4 Pages
He was sick; he has on the brink of death as his life began to catch up with him. Harry, the main character in “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” by Ernest Hemingway, lays on a cot at the plains of Kilimanjaro dying from gangrene due to a self-inflected wound he never took care of. While on the edge of death, his true identity as a person begins to shine through. Is Harry a good man merely preparing for death in a terrible way? Or was his truly deceptive and abusive personality shining through at his last moments of life? While these questions are highly debated, there is evidence to prove that Harry was, indeed, a terrible man receiving his punishment for the life that he had lived. Harry was a con, a thief, an abuser, and a sluggard and was now receiving his poetic justice.
As he lies on his cot waiting for the plane that will save his life, his true character and identity begin to shine through. As he is sits and reminisces on all of his regrets, he becomes bitter towards his wife’s, Helen’s, money. He believes that because her money has allowed him to live luxiously, it has made him lazy towards his writing and art. He says, “Your damned money was my armour. My swift and my Armour” (Page 830). Though he blames her money for this character flaw, he does acknowledge that he is, indeed the blame for his lack of writing. As he continues to rant against Helen’s inheritance, he then admits that he never truly loved her. “It was strange, too, wasn’t it, that when he fell in love with another woman, that woman should always have more money than the last one” (Page 832)? This statement, though does not out rightly say so, it implies that he is suggesting that he only married Helen for her money; and if it wouldn’t have been Helen, it would h...

... middle of paper ... decided to take the trip to Mt. Kilimanjaro as a way to end his laziness with writing and to become inspired. While on his way there, he cuts his leg and contracts gangrene at the bottom of the mount. As he passes away, his soul is taken to the top of the mount which is considered the “House of God” where a leopard’s dead body has been preserved. “When Harry looks at Kilimanjaro, he sees it as a symbol of truth, idealism, and purity. When he dies, tragic irony exists. The leopard died in a high, clean, well-lighted place; Harry, in contrast, dies rotting and stinking on the plains, lamenting his wasted life and his failure to complete his desired projects.” (Cliffnotes). This death signifies the punishment for the life he has lived. Though many argue it was a symbol for his lack of writing, many others argue it was because of his abusive and conning behavior.
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