Ernest Hemingway’s Portrayal of Masculinity Essay

Ernest Hemingway’s Portrayal of Masculinity Essay

Length: 1182 words (3.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Ernest Hemingway’s Portrayal of Masculinity


When thinking of masculinity in literature, one author has who has become synonymous with manliness comes to mind, Ernest Hemingway. Critics have spent countless hours studying his writing in order to gain insight into his world of manly delights, including his views on sex, war, and sport. His views can be seen through his characters, his themes and even his style of writing.

The characters in Hemingway’s stories reveal much about how he feels about men and the role they should play in society. Most of Hemingway’s male characters can be split into one of two groups. The first of which is the “Code” Hero. This is the tough, macho guy who chooses to live his life by following a “code of honor, courage, chivalry, honestly, and the ability to bear pain with resistance and dignity, and does not whine when defeated” (Scott, 217). This hero is Hemingway’s ideal man, whom every man should want to become. Robert Penn Warren writes of the “code” hero:

[Hemingway’s] heroes are not squealers, welchers, compromisers, or cowards, and when they confront defeat they realize that the stance they take, the stoic endurance, the stiff upper lip means a kind of victory. If they are to be defeated they are defeated upon their own terms; some of them have even courted their defeat; and certainly they have maintained, even in the practical defeat, an ideal of themselves – some definition of how a man should behave, formulated or unformulated – by which they have lived. They represent some notion of a code, some notion of honor, that makes a man a man, and that distinguishes him from people who merely follow their random impulses and who are, by consequence, “messy.” (Warren, 79)

Hemingway also seems to associate acts of violence with masculinity. Nathan Scott Jr. writes of Hemingway’s manliest characters:

Whatever they do, whether it be bullfighting or fishing or prizefighting or hunting lions in the African bush or blowing up bridges as a military saboteur – is done with consummate skill and with pride of craft; they are tough and competent: they can be counted on in a tight squeeze, and they do not cheat or squeal or flinch at the prospect of danger. (Scott, 217)

Examples of the “code” hero in Hemingway’s work include Manuel the bullfighter, in “The Undefeated” he fights with a noble dignity even when he is je...


... middle of paper ...


...lso the idea that because the hero lives by his code, he is able to “live properly in the world of violence, disorder, and misery in which he inhabits” (Baker, 15). The young waiter who hopes to one-day become a noble bullfighter in “The Capital of the World” illustrates this point. After performing gallantly, he takes his defeat with a sense of pride and chivalry allowing him to die the only real death in Hemingway’s mind, the death of a real man.

Sources

Baker, Carlos. Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story. New York: Scribner’s, 1969.

Fiedler, Leslie A. Love and Death in the American Novel. New York: Criterion Books,
1960. 304-09.

Strychancz, Thomas. “The Sort of Thing You Never Should Admit.” Boys Don’t Cry:
Rethinking Narratives of Masculinity and Emotion in the US. Eds. Millette

Shamir, Jennifer Travis. New York: Columbia University Press. 2002. 140-72.

Wagner, Linda Welshimer, Ed. Ernest Hemingway: Five Decades of Criticism. Michigan State University Press, 1974.

Holder, Alan. “The Other Hemingway.” Wagner. 103-08.

Scott, Nathan, Jr. “Ernest Hemingway, A Critical Essay.” Wagner. 210-18.

Warren, Robert Penn. “Ernest Hemingway.” Wagner. 77-101.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on A Farewell To Arms By Ernest Hemingway

- In the beginning Frederic Henry, a young American ambulance driver with the Italian army in World War I, meets a beautiful English nurse named Catherine Barkley near the front between Italy and Austria-Hungary. At first Henry wants to seduce her, but when he is wounded and sent to the American hospital where Catherine works, he actually begins to love her. After his convalescence in the hospital, Henry returns to the war front. During a retreat, the Italians start to fall apart. Henry shoots an engineer sergeant under his command for dereliction, and later in confusion is arrested by the battle police for the crime of not being Italian....   [tags: Free Essay Writer]

Free Essays
960 words (2.7 pages)

Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises Essay

- Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises is a work which weaves together many themes and gives life to the era of disillusionment, ambiguity, the modern world, and sexuality. As a whole, sexuality can be described in terms of who one is sexually attracted to. A major focus of this lens is homosexuality, but it is not limited to just that. This literary criticism can include the behaviors of heterosexuals as well and how their acts tie into the machine of the “invisible center,” or societal normalcy (Davies)....   [tags: literary analysis, sexuality]

Strong Essays
1150 words (3.3 pages)

Essay on The Lost Generation Exposed in The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

- Following World War I and the strife it brought to American culture, seemingly good times were felt by all in the roaring twenties; however, the reality is expressed through the negative happenings of the “Lost Generation.” Published in 1926, Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises acts as an allegory of the time, explaining the situations of American and foreign young adults of the “Lost Generation." The journey of Robert Cohn, Lady Bret Ashley and Jake Barnes and their experience abroad in France is one of false relationships, the disparaging actions of women and the insecurity of men; moreover, the major issues of the time compile to form what people living in the 1920’s and histori...   [tags: Ernest Hemingway]

Strong Essays
2080 words (5.9 pages)

The Lost Generation by Ernest Hemingway Essay

- The Lost Generation by Ernest Hemingway Ernest Hemingway is one of the authors named “The Lost Generation.” He could not cope with post-war America; therefore, he introduced a new type of character in writing called the code hero. He was known to focus his novels around code heroes who struggle with the mixture of their tragic faults and the surrounding environment. Traits of a typical Hemingway code hero are stimulating surroundings, self-control, self-reliance, fearlessness, and strict moral rules....   [tags: The Lost Generation Ernest Hemingway Essays]

Strong Essays
622 words (1.8 pages)

Essay about The Life of Ernest Miller Hemingway

- The Life of Ernest Miller Hemingway      There were several writers in the twentieth century, and among them was Ernest Miller Hemingway. Hemingway had a interesting, but strange life. By analyzing and exploring the literature and biographies of Ernest Hemingway, one will be able to understand the life of Ernest Hemingway and see the major contributions he had to literature.      He was born on July 21, 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois. Hemingway was born in the Hemingway family home, which was built by his grandfather Ernest Hall....   [tags: Ernest Hemingway Writers Essays]

Strong Essays
3837 words (11 pages)

Essay on Ernest Hemingway and the African Safari

- Hemingway’s Obsession with the African Safari In 1953, Ernest Hemingway and his wife, Mary, accompanied by photographer Earl Theisen, traveled to Kenya in what turned out to be the waning years of the grand African safari. Soon after, a wave of independence swept the continent, which had largely been under European domination since the end of the last century. And as people worldwide became increasingly aware of their environment and the threats to it, the notion of killing animals for sport began to be looked at in a different light....   [tags: Ernest Hemingway Essays]

Free Essays
626 words (1.8 pages)

Essay on Ernest Hemingway and Masculinity

- Ernest Hemingway and Masculinity         Ernest Hemingway, viewed as an American hero of his time, wrote novels that enrich the minds' of his readers, creating a lasting image that goes far beyond the actual content of the story. But while reading Hemingway, I learned that his style was far from complex. Through pre-meditated sentence structure, he creates a rhythm that parallels the action in the story. He wants the sentences themselves to be easy to understand, so the reader can use more energy focusing on the symbolism Hemingway's stories create....   [tags: Biography Biographies Essays]

Strong Essays
2244 words (6.4 pages)

Essay about Ernest Hemingway's Lost Generation

- Hemingway's Lost Generation         Before World War I and the Great Depression, the American dream consisted of the inherent optimism about the future, and a faith in individualism. However, Americans became skeptical of these beliefs and traditions. The country lost its innocence with the war, turning idealism to cynicism resulting in the questioning of the authority and tradition which had seemed to be the American bedrock (Anderson 519). The suffering of millions of Americans brought by the decade of economic depression also changed American's outlook (Phillips 213)....   [tags: Ernest Hemingway Essays]

Strong Essays
788 words (2.3 pages)

Ernest Hemingway's Indian Camp Essay

- Ernest Hemingway Indian Camp From a fishing trip the local doctor is summoned to an Indian village to assist a woman in labour. With him are his young son and an older male relative. Although all women helped the pregnant Indian woman, the men "moved off up the road". They want not to hear her screaming. The men are fed up with it. Maybe it is also an Indian ritual that only women are allowed to see the woman being in labour. The Indians are not interest in the childbirth. Hemingway brought a metaphor in: "dark"....   [tags: Ernest Hemingway, Indian Camp]

Strong Essays
842 words (2.4 pages)

Ernest Hemingway Essay

- Ernest Hemingway The writer/artist that I chose to enlighten you with has inspired many writers as well as literature majors for many years. He continues to tickle our imaginations with the legacy that he has left us with. This man was as genuine as you can get. He was loved by many. He made an impact on any life that he came across. This man is non other than, Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway was a free spirit in an unattached sense. He loved adventure, as well as the drink. He was somewhat enterprising and approached life with added enthusiasm....   [tags: Ernest Hemingway Authors Essays]

Strong Essays
1653 words (4.7 pages)