This research paper will analyze style and theme in two of Ernest Hemingway's short stories, "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" and "The Big Two-Hearted River," and two novels, The Sun Also Rises and Green Hills of Africa.1
"The Snows of Kilimanjaro" is about an author named Harry, who is lying on the African plain and dying of gangrene. "The Big Two-Hearted River" is about an ex-World War I soldier, Nick, who is trying to put his life back together after the war. Similarly, The Sun Also Rises involves an ex-soldier who is coping with a personal injury and seeks love with a woman named Brett Ashley. Lastly, Green Hills of Africa, is a non-fiction story about Hemingway hunting in Africa. Hemingway visited Africa in 1923. This is the only book that is completely autobiographical. In the four works reviewed, Ernest Hemingway has two themes, one about the self and another about his interpretation of a hero, and uses several techniques such as symbolism, first person narrative, and ambiguity that define his style of writing.
Analysis of all of Hemingway's prose reveals many themes. Two themes though stand out in the four works reviewed for this paper. One of them is that the main character (usually the hero) must assert the self, has a fear of failure, and attacks those things which threaten the successful assertion of the self. "Assertion of the self in the stories usually takes the form of the assertion of the masculine principle." In Green, Hemingway exerts his masculinity by killing animals. He would really like to shoot a kudu, which is a deer-like animal. Since this is his goal, when he kills the kudu, it means that he is more masculine. The fear of failure is shown as...
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... A Reader's Guide to Ernest Hemingway. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1972.
Wright, Jerianne. "Hemingway's Use of Animals as Psychological Symbols" (The University of Florida's Hemingway Collection). 15 Sep. 1997. http://www.atlantic.net/~gagne/pol/annie.html (5 May 1998).
Hemingway, Ernest. Green Hills of Africa. New York: Charles Scribners, 1963.
- - - . The Nick Adams Stories. New York: Charles Scribners, 1972.
- - - . The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories. New York: Charles Scribners, 1964.
- - - . The Sun Also Rises. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1957.
1. In the body paragraphs, "The Big Two-Hearted River" will be referred to as "Two-Hearted," "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" will be referred to as "Snows," The Sun Also Rises will be referred to as Sun, and Green Hills of Africa will be referred to as Green.
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