The Life and Death of Ernest Hemingway

The Life and Death of Ernest Hemingway

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The Life and Death of Hemingway


In novels or other literary works many authors write about things they dream about. Many write about what stories they have heard from fellow companions. None have written about such vivid, yet traumatic experiences as the twentieth century writer, Ernest Hemingway. That is why Hemingway's tend to concur to his real life experiences.


To start, consider that he was raised in an extremely strict household. He was born and raised in Oak Park, Illinois. He had an equitably happy, upper middle class childhood. As he grew older he started having feelings of bitterness towards his parents, mainly his mother who was seen as selfish and magisterial by Hemingway. When he was in his teens he became interested in literature. He wrote stories for his high school newspaper and subscribed poems and stories to the school magazine. When he graduated in 1917 he took a junior reporter position on the "Kansas City Star", writing feature stories. In his journalism he began to show interest in powerful yet objective writings of violence, despair, and emotional disturbance, which dominated his writings. He also participated in World War I, which greatly impacted his writing, as a Red Cross ambulance driver in Italy. He was wounded in both legs by a shrapnel explosion. He fell in love with the nurse that was caring for him, who left him not long after for an older man. He returned to Oak Park, and also upper Michigan to write about his childhood, teenage, and wartime years. In 1921 he married Hadley Richardson, divorced March 10, 1927, he moved to Paris to further his writing career. Here he quit journalism as a result of his maturing as a distinguished writer. From the maturity he had accomplished he was able to write over twenty-five books. He eventually returned to journalism to support himself.


He was recognized as a major force in literature when he wrote A Farewell to Arms, One of the first novels in Hemingway's literary career. His first publication was Three Stories and Ten Poems, which didn't turn out to be a big success. But his most acclaimed novella, The Old Man and the Sea, which won him the Pulitzer Prize, tends to stand out overall.

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This novel also is the one that mostly compares, in short, to his life. In the novella the main character is named Santiago, who is an elderly man but very strong willed and who also loved to deep-sea fish, as did Hemingway. Representing Hemingway's strong will, in that Hemingway survived three marriages and World War I along with several other wars. Santiago was also a drinker, that of which Mr. Hemingway was also a drinker, quite a heavy one at that. In the novella there was also a young Cuban boy by the name of Manolin. He was a courageous boy that loved the sea. Many people believe this boy represented his son John Hadley Nicanor. Manolin loved the old man, like a son should love a father. The oldest of Hemingway's children loved his father very much, just like the boy in the story. Santiago was relatively poor; he lived in a small shack on the shore with hardly anything to eat or much money, which is how Hemingway felt, even though he was quite wealthy for his time. Hemingway was known for his drunken quarrels, he was very skilled in fist fighting. Santiago was skilled in fighting the great fish that he caught as well as for his stubbornness well associated with fist fighting. The fish represented Hemingway's love life. The multiple divorces, wives, and death of one former wife, was like the sharks slowly eating away at the Marlin, that Santiago had worked so hard to catch. Santiago's travels to many different places on the ocean represents Hemingway's passion for travel, he traveled all over the world, from Spain and Italy to Cuba and Africa. He settled in Cuba, which is where The Old Man and the Sea takes place. In the fiction Santiago feels he is beaten by the elements of nature, the fish and the sharks. Hemingway was conquered by his own elements.


Hemingway committed suicide, July 2, 1961, at about 5:00 a.m. in Ketchum, Idaho. He used a double barrel shotgun fired at the head; his father used a pistol. The many things that had recently happened overwhelmed him. He had just undergone shock therapy for saying that the FBI was following him, but he couldn't convince any one that they actually were. The FBI was keeping tabs because he had lived in Cuba until Fidel Castro took over. From the shock treatments, he became very weak mentally. Disabling his writing ability, also believed to have collaborated to his suicide. In 1951 Hemingway's mother, Grace, died. All of these, plus many more could have contributed to his suicide and his being "beaten" by his own life.


Works Cited


Hemingway, Ernest. The Old Man and the Sea. 1952. New York: Simon and Schuster Inc., 1995.


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