Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway
“Soldier’s Home” by Ernest Hemingway Analytical Essay
One of the tragic consequences of any war is that it demolishes the traditional values and drastically changes the perceptions of the world by those who have gone through its horrors. Coming back to normal life appears a torture to such people since their vision of future existence runs counter to the standards of the peace time.
While civilian population seeks shelter from the harshness of the angry world in the safe harbor of family life, soldiers who come back from the war find themselves incompatible with the traditional pattern of life. Such dramatic situation is described in Ernest Hemingway’s short story “Soldier’s Home”, where the character of Harold Krebs reveals itself as a tragic hero who is opposed to the traditional world represented in the characters of the average citizens.
To unfold the characterization of Harold Krebs in “Soldier’s Home”, Hemingway employs a whole range of means. For one thing, Krebs’ character opens up through his actions, thoughts and reactions to the surrounding world. From the very beginning of the story the reader faces a series of monotonous repetitions that reflect an objective, dull, almost mechanical state of Harold’s mind: multiple reiterations of phrases like “There is a picture…”, “He liked…”, “He did not want…”, “It was simply not worth it” reflect Harold’s emotional deadness and indifference caused by the terrors of the war (Hemingway 165–167).
War was not the only cause for Harold’s apathy: he was met with estrangement by his own community who wanted not the truth but the embellished tales that were far from the war reality. Revolted by the necessity to tell those lies, Harold rejects the reality which is false for him and creates his own existence opposite to the conventional routine: instead of finding a job and settling down with a girl, he sleeps, reads books, plays pool and the clarinet. Thus he explicitly opposes himself to the society by means of his words and deeds.
For another thing, Harold’s surname is significant: Hemingway borrowed it from his friend married to a woman old enough to be his mother (Lynn 258). This fact signifies the importance placed on the dramatic conflict between Harold’s world-view and that of his mother’s. Hemingway launches this conflict to provide a deeper understanding of Harold’s incompatibility with his environment.
Setting off Harold’s lack of determination and definite life objectives, the foil character of his mother embodies all the traditional values: in trying to convince her son of the necessity for settling down and finding a job, Harold’s mother acts as a herald of conventional lifestyle that rather repulses than inspires Harold. Harold’s relaxed existence appears meaningless to his mother, who represents the traditional Protestant values of work and family, of everyone’s life subordinated to the eternal laws of the Kingdom of God.
The more painful and uncomfortable for Harold is his mother’s attempt to place him into that Kingdom, where he has actually never belonged (Hemingway 168). His repulsive reaction to his mother’s reproach, his disinterest and blunt confession of no love for anybody discloses the abyss between him and the conventional society. To survive in it, Harold unwillingly gives up to its demands and says farewell to his dream of a smooth life uncomplicated by social conventions.
The tragedy of Harold’s character is that once he loses everything in the frightful experience of war, coming back home becomes senseless to him. He does not feel the wish to do it; yet, due to the apathy and weakness of his nature, he returns one year later — too late to be accepted as a hero. Wrong time, wrong place — those are the adverse circumstances that ruin Harold’s vision of uncomplicated life. He becomes a piece of driftwood that floats according to the ways imposed by the traditional society which is too blind to see and accept his uniqueness.
Hemingway, Ernest. “Soldier’s Home.” Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing (8th ed.). Ed. Michael Meyer. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008. 165–170. Print.
Lynn, Kenneth Schuyler. Hemingway. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995. Print.
Was Ernest Hemingway a Misogynist? A Sexism Research Paper
The debate on whether Ernest Hemingway is a misogynist still rages with critics and adherents backing their side of the story. Nevertheless, an essay with a closer investigation into his books might give a hint or two concerning this controversial topic that has refused to exit from scholarly circles.
According to Johnson, “misogyny is a cultural attitude of hatred for females because they are female (1); therefore, a misogynist is someone who upholds this culture. From Hills like White Elephants to The Short Life of Francis Macomber, Hemingway’s style of writing is full of misogyny. It becomes effortless, therefore, to state with clarity Hemingway’s perspective towards women in general.
Firstly, in the majority of his short stories, unhealthy man-woman relationships are prevalent, characterized by imperfections and doomed to failure. Interestingly, in all these cases, women are to blame, as they appear nagging, inadequate, domineering, and selfish. Generally, in Hemingway’s eyes, women are utter failures plunged in emotional apathy by their inability to express their feelings. In short, Ernest Hemingway’ssexist nature is exposited in Hills like White Elephants and The Short Life of Francis Macomber.
The Short Life of Francis Macomber
The main character in this story that turns out to be pathetic is a woman, Margot Macomber. As the story opens, Margot is domineering, literally dictating the life of her husband, Francis. Interestingly, when Francis wields courage to rise above his wife Margot, she cowardly takes his life. What a timid way of dealing with the struggle for power.
Nevertheless, in this case, Hemingway mentions that the only way women can remain in power is through intimidation. As aforementioned, at the beginning of the story, Margot is tyrannizing, while Francis is intimidated. Wilson, the hunter, is the only man who exudes any trait of manhood. Hemingway uses Wilson deliberately as an ideal man that Francis would be if Margot got out of the way.
Hemingway does not hide the uselessness of Wilson in the eyes of Margot; she only uses him as a toy, and even after they have sex Hemingway still questions it. He says, “What’s in her heart, God knows, Wilson thought. She had not talked much last night. At that, it was a pleasure to see her” (Hemingway 21).
Even Wilson feels his uselessness in this woman’s life as he concludes only God knows her intentions in taking him to bed. In this incidence, Hemingway depicts Margot as an emotionally incompetent being who cannot express her feelings freely and earn her place in a man’s heart by merit. She has to employ the only tool she has, intimidation. This is just but an introduction to many of Hemingway’s misogynist nature through Margot.
Francis finally starts to show gradual change towards reclaiming his position as the head of the family only to face a stubborn and scheming Margot. Being the man he is, Wilson sees and applauds Francis’ efforts towards becoming a man, albeit minimal. Pointing at Hemingway’s misogyny, Weeks offers, “Wilson… is the man free of woman and fear. He is the standard of manhood…His dominance over the lady is apparent from the moment she sees him blast the lion from which Macomber ran” (Weeks 120).
Not that Margot cares or even loves Wilson; far from it, she is only interested in the boldness, a trait of masculinity that he possesses. Unfortunately, due to her weaknesses, Margot cannot contain a permanently dominating man in her life; she can only have one on demand, and Wilson comes in handy in this case. Hemingway hates Margot by virtue of being a woman, and this underscores the misogynist he is.
Hemingway’s choice of words exposes his dark side, the grimy side of a man who would otherwise pass for a good writer of all the times. At the slightest show of Macomber’s courage, Francis becomes “clearly a changed being, one who will never allow his wife’s domination again. Complementing this reversal of roles, we find that Margot had been afraid during the chase, and now, feeling nauseous, wants refuge in the ambiguous and evasive shade” (Monk 136).
What more could a weak, insufficient, selfish, and emotionally pathetic woman do? Well, Hemingway knows better, and the best one can offer in reciprocation is hatred, which is something that he offers philanthropically. He hates women with passion; no wonder, Margot could only be a failure in this story. To cap her weaknesses, Margot kills Francis after realizing his growing dominance in their relationship. Evidently, Francis’ life is shorter than what Hemingway evokes in the title of the short story, courtesy of Margot.
Hills like White Elephants
The unlucky woman in this short story is Jig, an incompetent woman incapable of communicating her feelings or making any independent judgment. Hemingway introduces Jig as ‘the girl,’ “the American and girl with him sat at a table in the shade, outside the building” (Hemingway 87).
Jig here passes for a nameless girl, at least in Hemingway’s perspective. Throughout the short story, Hemingway fails to bring out the “girl’s” emotions or attitudes concerning anything that happens around her. Hemingway paints Jig as a clueless, pathetic, and tasteless woman who cannot make simple decisions like what to drink. She admits that it is hot; nevertheless, she cannot state with clarity what drink to take.
Instead, she asks, “What should we drink” (Hemmingway, 87). As aforementioned, Hemingway deliberately chooses his words to belittle women at every encounter. The fact that Jig cannot take a stand and say I will take this or that opting to consult the American is a strong indication of how frail she is. Jig’s naivety comes out clearly; after it emerges that, she cannot even order the drinks, for she does not understand Spanish.
Therefore, she has to depend on the male figure in this case. One can conclude that feminism in Hemingway’s works is not present in any aspect. As opposed to The Short Life of Francis Macomber, where Margot is domineering, Hemingway uses Hills like White Elephants to show how voiceless and weak women are by their failure to stand on their own. The indecisiveness of Hemingway’s female characters stands out conspicuously when the issue of abortion raises in this short story.
Jig knows for sure she does not want to abort her child; however, she chooses to remain silent about the issue. When the American suggests, “I know you wouldn’t mind it, Jig. It is not anything. It’s just to let the air in” (Hemingway 90), Jig remains silent. She finally gives in citing, “I don’t care about me…I care about you” (Hemingway 90).
In this case, Hemingway gives the impression that women are indecisive, bound to compromise their principles in the name of love and care. If Jig does not care about herself, she cannot probably care about anyone else. One cannot give what she/he does not have. How can she care about the American if she does not care about herself? Hemingway uses this instance to ridicule women and satisfy his misogyny.
Reducing women to such humbling levels is tantamount to stripping them of their dignity and self-worth. Nevertheless, the reason why Hemingway does this is that he hates women with a passion for purposes best known to him. The reader can only speculate, and the only valid speculation here is that he hates women by virtue of being women, and this underscores him being a misogynist.
To some extent, Jig is also gullible. She keeps on changing topics even in the middle of a seemingly essential discussion. For instance, she keeps on referring to the ‘bead curtain,’ which is unrelated to the point in dispute; that is, abortion. Portraying women this way strips Hemingway of any respect for women exposing the misogynist novelist that he is.
Whether Hemingway is a misogynist or not, is no longer a point of debate; his works speak it all as exposited in this writing. Women, just like anybody else, have shortcomings and strengths alike; unfortunately, Hemingway is blind towards the strengths, he can only see the weaknesses.
Consequently, he writes what he sees viz. weaknesses, and this explains why his writings concentrate on exposing women’s weaknesses. Margot, in The Short Life of Francis Macomber, rules her husband only to silence, inferiority screams that rage within her. On the other hand, Jig in Hills like White Elephants cannot make even a simple decision like choosing the drink to take. At his best, Hemingway is a misogynist, a woman-hater for no apparent reason.
Hemingway, Ernest. The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway. New York: Scribner, 2003.
Johnson, Allan. The Blackwell Dictionary of Sociology: A User’s Guide to Sociological Language. Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers Inc, 2000.
Monk, Donald. “Hemingway’s Territorial Imperative.” The Yearbook of English Studies 8.1 (1978): 125-140.
Weeks, Robert. Hemingway: A Collection of Critical Essays. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1962.
Different Aspects of Culture in Hemingway, Wilson and O’Connor Analytical Essay
In the short stories The Three Day Blow by Ernest Hemingway, The Man who Shot Snapping Turtles by Edmund Wilson and A Good Man is Hard to Find, by Flannery O’Connor, certain cultural features described in the fiction persist in the United States of today.
In The Three Day Blow the cultural element described that persists in American society concerns the fear of commitment that many men harbor and how that fear conflicts with their fear of being alone. In The Man who Shot Snapping Turtles, a cultural feature described in the story that still exists in American culture today is the belief that some of the animals created by God are more desirable than others.
In A Good Man is Hard to Find, the cultural feature that the story describes which continues today is the belief that the past represents a better version of American culture than the present, and that the current culture of American society is badly degraded from its former heyday.
The first story to be analyzed is The Three Day Blow by Ernest Hemingway. The Three Day Blow is the oldest of the three stories, first published 1925, yet this story describes a cultural feature very much alive in American society today – the fear of marriage and the conflict that arises in men when they must decide between getting married and staying alone.
Often the fear of being alone is greater than the fear of being married, thus marriage wins out; however the conflict never really dies. Hemingway illustrates the heart of this conflict at the end of the story, after Nick and Bill have had a lot to drink and have become more liberal with their truths.
Bill tells Nick that he was “very wise…to bust off that Marge business…It was the only thing to do. If you hadn’t, by now you’d be back home working trying to get enough money to get married….Once a man’s married he’s absolutely bitched, Bill went on. He hasn’t got anything more…He’s done for. You’ve seen the guys that get married…They get this sort of fat married look” (Hemingway 23).
This is the first mention we have heard of Nick’s former girlfriend, and in the face of Bill’s speech, the character Nick “said nothing” (Hemingway 24). Presumably Nick regrets not marrying the woman in question, not only because he is silent, but because “the liquor had all died out of him and left him alone” (Hemingway 24).
In this story Hemingway describes the cultural fear – from the point of view of males, however the feeling affects both genders – of commitment and the feeling of loneliness that many single people experience persists today.
The second story under analysis is The Man who Shot Snapping Turtles by Edmund Wilson. This short story was first published in the Atlantic Monthly magazine in 1942, over 60 years ago, yet a significant cultural feature found in this story that still exists in American culture today is the understanding that some of God’s creatures are better than others.
In The Man who Shot Snapping Turtles Mr. Stryker makes a distinction between the ducks as desirable and the snapping turtles as undesirable, even though in cultural Christian understanding, God created both. “This time Mr. Stryker decided to do a better job. He came to see me again and startled me by holding forth in a vein that recalled the pulpit.
“If God has created the mallard,” he said, “A thing of beauty and grace, how can He allow these dirty filthy mud-turtles to prey upon His handiwork and destroy it?” (Wilson 257). The narrator responds that “the reptiles came before the birds. And they survive with the strength God gave them” (Wilson 257).
To which Mr. Stryker counters “how do we know that God isn’t getting old? How do we know that some of His lowest creatures aren’t beginning to get out of hand and clean up on the higher ones?” (Wilson 257).
We see this hierarchy applied to animals and perpetuated today in American society in the distinction made between so called undesirable creatures such as rats and roaches and so called beautiful and desirable creatures such as swans, horses or dogs.
The last story under discussion is A Good Man is Hard to Find, by Flannery O’Connor. A Good Man is Hard Find was published in 1955, however to this day some of the cultural aspects of American life that it describes are still in place. The most significant cultural aspect of this that is still relevant today is the belief that the American present is a degraded version of its past.
The grandmother of A Good Man is Hard to Find represents the belief that Americans in the past treated each other better, had better manners and were more trustworthy. We see this belief illustrated in the section of the story when the grandmother and the owner of the diner, Red Sammy, have a conversation about how things used to be compared to how they are now.
“You can’t win, he said. You can’t win…and he wiped his sweating red face off with a gray handkerchief. These days you don’t know who to trust…Ain’t that the truth? A good man is hard to find, Red Sammy said. Everything is getting terrible. I remember the day you could go off and leave your screen door unlatched. Not no more. He and the grandmother discussed better times” (O’Connor 235).
Culturally, the understanding that the present has become worse than the past, and that morals have eroded over time, is still very prevalent in American society. Conversations such as the following between Red Sam and the grandmother could have been written today, rather than over 50 years ago.
“Red Sam said it was no use talking about it, she was exactly right. Listen, the grandmother almost screamed, I know you’re a good man. You don’t look a bit like you have common blood. I know you must come from nice people!” (O’Connor 235).
The short stories The Three Day Blow by Ernest Hemingway, The Man who Shot Snapping Turtles by Edmund Wilson and A Good Man is Hard to Find, by Flannery O’Connor all contain certain cultural features that can still be found in the United States of today, even though each story was published in the last century.
In The Three Day Blow the cultural element described that persists in American society centers around fear of commitment; in The Man who Shot Snapping Turtles, the cultural feature we still see in the culture of the United States today is the hierarchal belief that some animals created by God are better than others.
In A Good Man is Hard to Find, the story describes a belief that the American past was infinitely better than its current manifestation, and that the present culture of American society is a shoddy version of a former glorious past.
Hemingway, Ernest. “The Three Day Blow.” 50 Great Short Stories. Ed. Milton Crane. New York: Random House, 1988. 16- 27. Print.
O’Connor, Flannery. “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” 50 Great Short Stories. Ed. Milton Crane. New York: Random House, 1988. 229-245. Print.
Wilson, Edmund. “The Man Who Shot Snapping Turtles.” 50 Great Short Stories. Ed. Milton Crane. New York: Random House, 1988. 254-267. Print.
“A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” a Novel by Ernest Hemingway Essay
The Hemingways novel A Clean, Well-Lighted Place is one of his best shot stories which in a full manner demonstrates the literary talent of the writer. This is a novel about loneliness and this main theme is revealed in a full manner with a maximum economy in stylistic means.
The names of the main characters of the novel are not even mentioned by Hemingway. They are simply the old man, the older waiter and the younger waiter. The action is practically absent. It is just a single episode from the everyday life of the characters. However, due to the artistic skill of the author a reader can easily imagine the inner world of every character of the novel. Hemingway is famous for his ability to find something unusual in the most ordinary things and to represent it in the original and inherent only to him manner.
The plot of the novel is very simple. The old man drinks whisky. It is rather late and he is the only visitor in the café. And it is far from being the first glass of whisky he drinks. During this process, two waiters are speaking about him and from their conversation, it is clear that the old man is a frequent visitor of this establishment. The writer gives few information about the old man. It is known that he is rich, deaf and lonely. He has had a wife but at the present moment the only person who takes care of him is his niece.
From the talk of two waiters, it is known that recently he has made at attempt to commit suicide. The younger waiter is eager to get home as quickly as possible and he wants the old man to leave the café. The older waiter understands the emotions of the old man. The plot of the novel is revealed mainly through the dialogues of the main characters. A great attention is given to symbols and the meaning of the metamessage.
The theme of loneliness runs like a golden threat through the novel. It is very symbolic that the old man is the only visitor of the café. He is sitting alone and his only interlocutors are empty glasses. It seems to me that the fact that one of the main characters of the novel is deaf has its own hidden meaning. The old man does not hear the sounds from the surrounding world; he just feels the changes in his environment. “He was deaf and now at night it was quiet and he felt the difference” (Hemingway, 1933, p.1).
The old man is completely deprived from the world. The older waiter, unlike his colleague seems to understand his visitor. When the young water asks the old man to leave the older water is trying to protect him. At first thought is seems that he does it just out a sense of pity. Nevertheless, later on it finds out that the old waiter is suffering from loneliness too. He does not want to leave the café too and even goes to bar on his way home. In his conversation with his colleague he says “I am of those who like to stay late at the café. With all those who do not want to go to bed. With all those who need a light for the night” (Hemingway, 1933, p.3).
The writer describes loneliness as something inevitable and something from which it is impossible to escape. Though the older waiter does not recognize the fact he is lonely it is obvious judging from his conversation with the young waiter who is represented as a distinct opposition to him. “Each night I am reluctant to close up because there may be someone who needs the café” (Hemingway, 1933, p.3).
This image of the light and quiet café is very important for understanding the sense of the novel. It is a symbol of an asylum, in which two old men are trying to hide. It is no mere chance that the action of the novel takes place during hours of darkness. This darkness is used to emphasize the loneliness of the main characters. The only place where the old man can weaken his depression is this café. He does not want to leave it because in such a case he has to face his fears and despair. The old waiter does not want to confess his loneliness. Instead he thinks that he is suffering from insomnia. The younger waiter does not understand it. He cannot even imagine that he may also face the same problems.
It is also very important that in the novel a prayer, which is a symbol of faith and the unity of a person with God, is interpreted in rather strange and even sacrilegious manner. By inserting the word nada into the prayer, the older waiter demonstrates his complete disappointment with life alongside with his impiety. This transformed prayer is used as a symbol of the loneliness and exinanition. The tragedy of loneliness is emphasized by the word nothing which is repeated in Spanish several times. The novel “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” is a story about loneliness and the importance for a person, especially for an old one, to find a light and order in his life.
Hemingway, Ernest. A Clean, Well-Lighted Place, 1933. PDF file.
Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Eliot Works Comparison Essay
The literature of the beginning of the 20th century was heavily influenced by the major changes that were reshaping the world at the time. The First World War was one of the deadliest conflicts in the history of mankind and resulted in millions of casualties and devastation across Europe. In addition to the Great War, urbanization, immigration, and the rapid progress of technology led to the general feeling of uncertainty due to the rejection of old, traditional ideas.
This identity crisis is explored in the works of many notable modernist authors, including Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Eliot. The characters of Nick Adams and J. Alfred Prufrock are representations of the modern man, fractured and lost after the devastating consequences of the First World War.
Nick Adams in the main character of more than a dozen stories written by Ernest Hemingway. The character is largely autobiographical, with many similarities to Ernest Hemingway. Nick Adams’ father is also a doctor, and he, just like Hemingway, enlists as an ambulance driver to work on the Italian front during the World War I. In each of Hemingway’s stories, Nick Adams is confronted with some traumatic event, and the author explores the consequences this event has on Nick Adams.
In one of the stories, A Way You’ll Never Be, Nick Adams is shown suffering recurring nightmares and hallucinations in the aftermath of the traumatic head injury inflicted during his service on the Italian front. Nick Adams returns to the place where he was injured with a hidden motive – to understand the reason behind his hallucinations. However, in spite of the fact that Nick Adams learns some information about his trauma, he fails to understand the underlying cause of these nightmares – the crisis of personal identity (Quick 30). He is self-conscious and restless, and his hallucinations seem jumbled and unrelated, just like Nick Adams’ anxious thoughts about his sense of self.
The post-traumatic shock Nick is suffering from in the aftermath of the events on the Italian front is the allusion to the general anxiety which grew its roots in the minds of people living in the 1920s. A number of Ernest Hemingway’s works touch upon physical wounds, but it is this story that focuses on mental trauma, the destructive psychological result of the Great War. Nick’s search for the meaning of life continues in Big Two-Hearted River, where he returns to Michigan from the Italian front.
In this descriptive story, Nick, unable to find a place for himself, leaves urban environment and turns to the healing power of nature to lessen his burden, which was “too heavy […] much too heavy” (Hemingway par. 6). The feeling of anxiety stays with him even there, and although he tries to avoid it, he seems preoccupied with it. In the aftermath of World War I, Nick Adams, just like many other people of that time, is suffering from the loss of the orientation, which makes him the archetype of that time (Burke 2).
Like Nick Adams, the main character of Thomas Eliot’s poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock J. Alfred Prufrock is also avoiding something, an overwhelming question. Prufrock, an average middle-class man living in an urban setting very similar to London, also suffers from unspoken psychological conflict. A variety of allusions, used by Elliot, seem to suggest that Prufrock is an educated man. However, he is very self-conscious and seems unable to confront the overwhelming question.
Throughout the novel, which takes place in an urban setting, Prufrock seems to be confused what time of the day it is and where is past and where is future: tenses are frequently confused throughout the poem. In contrast to Nick Adams, Prufrock does not leave the city but gets lost in its sinister streets instead. The urban setting allows the reader to see rooms full of people mindlessly drinking tea all day, joined by Prufrock himself.
The author presents a picture of a wasted existence, hindered by indecisive paralysis. Prufrock is ready for “a hundred indecisions […] before the taking of a toast and tea” (Elliot 10-11). Elliot captures the image of a typical young man unable to find his place in a world, fractured by the Great War. The juxtaposition of scenes, texts, and thoughts are used to show the chaotic state of Prufrock’s mind and the society in general. It is not entirely clear if Prufrock actually leaves his room or whether the narration is the result of his disturbed mind.
The characters of Nick Adams and J. Alfred Prufrock both struggle with challenges typical of people of “the lost generation”. In the first half of the 20th century, the old world has been shattered and was undergoing dramatic transformations. The aftershock of the World War I left many questioning what the meaning of their existence was. A common trait of both characters is that they are lost in the new world. However, while Elliot’s character seems to never leave this state of paralysis, Hemingway’s’ protagonist turns to nature and seems to find his inner self.
Burke, William. Hemingway ‘s Nick Adams Archetype of an era. Web.
Eliot, Thomas. (n.d.). The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. Web.
Hemingway, Ernest. (n.d.). Big Two-Hearted River. Web.
Quick, Paul. “Hemingway’s “A Way You’ll Never Be” and Nick Adams’s Search for Identity” The Hemingway Review. 22.2 (2003): 33-44. Web.
“The Snows of Kilimanjaro” a Story by Ernest Hemingway Report (Assessment)
Harry’s wound had festered to an extent that it had graduated to gangrene. As usual, for a man who had gone through immense physical and emotional suffering, Harry had lost his ability to think. As a result, Harry had resigned to the fact that he would die in a remote jungle far away from home. Helen urges him not to give up as help could be on the way but he is too tired to care what will happen to him.
His mental and physical condition is affecting her negatively, especially after he declares that he has never loved her. Harry actually blames Helen for his predicament claiming that it is her money that brought all his current suffering upon him. This hurts Helen so much that she cries bitterly. In a monologue Harry wonders a lot about his present predicament. He blames Helen for destroying his writing career, since it is her money that brought him closer to her, the same money that was now threatening to take him far away from his writing. But he still thinks that he is still too strong a man to be destroyed by women and concludes that he brought all his present tribulations upon himself by the choices he made.
Upon his return from the hunting trip Helen notices that Harry’s condition had improved, much to her relief. She even promises him a delicious supper from the Tommy she had shot. Helen further begs Harry not to hurt her again since she had previously been destroyed by men in her life. He promises to stop the habit and make amends with her in bed, much to her appreciation. In her mood of appreciation, Helen promises Harry that the help they need would arrive the following day in the form of an Aeroplane. But Harry has suffered too much to care for help. They opt to while-away the evening drinking whiskey, which they order from one of the boys.
After a while, it occurred to him that death was imminent. His wound now smelled too much, a smell that was symbolic of death. After taking a bath, she wants to serve him supper which he refuses, claiming that there was no need to eat since he would die that night. Out of her abundant care for him, she urges him to take a little food to give him strength to write. After all the emotional suffering he had taken her through, Harry is touched by the fact that she manages to remain loving and friendly.
He acknowledges this and assures her that she is a fine woman. He refuses to eat more and slowly falls into a deep slumber that he would never wake from. After he is fallen asleep she asks the boys to take him into the tent. The next morning the plane arrives but it is already too late. Harry is already dead. Helen takes awhile to notice and after she does she is too shaken.
In this narrative, Hemingway presents himself as both melodramatic and emotional, while still remaining uncaring to Helen’s plight. His adventurous spirit brings him to Africa, along with Helen, a woman he loves but does not wish to admit this fact. He fails to acknowledge that Helen had abandoned her life to be with him. He goes on to hurt her emotions and blame her for his present condition. Suffice to say that in his own words, Harry agrees that his drinking and love for women were the reasons for his death; he had brought it all this upon himself.
William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway Comparison Essay
The style employed by a writer acts as a mark of differentiation from the other writers. Stephen noted that a writer’s style points to the tone of the story which is critical for the reader to understand (85). Some of the factors that differentiate writers are the use of figurative language such as symbolism, personification, similes, metaphors, and hyperboles (Pisano and Holder 7). This paper compares and contrasts William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway with respect to “A Rose for Emily” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”. “A Rose for Emily” is a remarkable story, which starts with a flashback about the death of Emily Grierson, the main character.
The story is written from the perspectives of Emily and the community and combines the past and the future to depict power and love. On the other hand, “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” is about a writer who is dying due to a gangrene infection while on a safari. Hemingway starts the story with an epigraph, a narration relating to a lone leopard on the tip of Kilimanjaro. The comparison of the works of the two writers will be based on figures of speech.
Hemingway and Faulkner use figurative language to elicit pity and frustration about the issues that affect the main characters. This forms the basis of building the themes of the stories. In respect to the two stories, the common figure of speech is the use of metaphors to point to different aspects of life affecting the main characters in the stories. According to Stephens, Hemingway uses allusions, meanings, and symbolic functions to present the facts that the narrator is facing (86).
Hemingway employs metaphors to depict the infection Harry is suffering from. This signifies the depth of creativity that shifts the story from a straightforward tale to an allegory. For example, Harry the narrator states, “they are around every camp. You never notice them. You can’t die if you don’t give up” (Hemingway 2). The use of the phrase alludes to deeper issues that affect the writer; hence, drawing the parallel between the factual gangrenes infection which can cause death and the real-life situation of neglect.
Similarly, in the Rose for Emily, Faulkner uses metaphors to point to the past neglect. For example, the narrator states that “When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her funeral: the men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument….” (Faulkner par. 1)The fallen monument is used to point to the past which describes Emily’s life.
The two writers also use symbolism and personification. Hemingway starts the story with symbolism. “Close to the western summit there is the dried and frozen carcass of a leopard. No one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude.”(Hemingway 1). In this case, the leopard is used to depict the life of Harry. On the other hand, Faulkner uses symbolism and personification to create a vivid picture of Emily’s life. For example, the state of the house Emily lived in exemplifies her life. “Miss Emily’s house was left, lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps….” (Faulkner par. 2)
In writing, images entail visuals used by a writer to draw the attention of the reader to certain issues (Stephens 4). Images relate to figurative devices such as metaphors and similes. In the snows of Kilimanjaro, Hemingway uses many visuals such as the mountain, the dead carcass of the leopard, the hyenas, and vultures. The images are used in a clear and simple way to display the setting and the atmosphere of the story. Faulkner also uses images but applies a different technique. For instance, he uses a lot of description and complex wording. For example, “Her skeleton was small and spare; perhaps that was why what would have been merely plumpness in another was obesity in her. She looked bloated like a body long submerged in motionless water and of that pallid hue” (Heller par. 11).
Differences between Hemingway and Faulkner also relate to how the writers present their literary works to the readers. For instance, Hemingway’s prose is stripped down, and he integrates it with imagery. This allows the presentation of the main theme in a manner that makes the reader feel part of the happenings. This is achieved by the use of first-person narration, which makes the reader be part of the seeing and action (Harding 22).
For example the use, “Love is a dunghill,” said Harry. “And I’m the cock that gets on it to crow” (Hemingway 4). The narration is based on the self-ruminations and memories. The imageries are used to depict the life of regret. This is contrary to Faulkner’s presentation of the theme of power and love in “A Rose for Emily”. The writer uses a different approach to capture the attention of the readers by teasing the imagination of the reader. For example, the writer uses conflicting cues to make the readers’ suspicion of the truth about Emily keep on growing.
Faulkner, William. A Rose for Emily. n.d. Web.
Harding, Riddle. “He had never written a word of that: Regret and counterfactuals in Hemingway’s “The Snows of Kilimanjaro.”” Hemingway Review 30.2 (2011): 21- 35. Print.
Heller, Terry. n.d. The Telltale Hair: A Critical Study of William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily“. n.d. Web.
Hemingway, Ernest. The Snows of Kilimanjaro. 2015. Web.
Pisano, Falke, and Will Holder. Figures of Speech. Zürich: JRP/Ringier, 2010. Print. Stephens, Robert. “Hemingway’s Riddle of Kilimanjaro: Idea and Image.” American Literature 32.1 (2001): 84-85. Print.
Landscape Symbolism in Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” Essay
Authors frequently use elements of nature in their works to underline conflicts, illustrate an idea, reflect the feelings of characters or amplify the drama. Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Swift, Maugham, and many others often intertwine individuals with surroundings. In his short story, “Hills Like White Elephants,” Hemingway also uses landscape features in a meaningful way. The author’s depiction of Ebro valley in this literary work is symbolic of a choice to have a child, and the dry, treeless land on the opposite side is representative of the life after abortion.
Jig’s indecision about birthgiving is reflected through the change in the metaphorical perception of the valley and hills. Through the power of the character’s observation and imagination, these natural sights become a symbol of life, something that is pleasant and full of energy and force as opposed to a flat country that is “brown and dry” (Hemingway 475) Yet, in some instances, brief moments of doubt about the decision to have a child, she stops recognizing elephants in hills and fails to believe that she could reside among those lively green spaces.
Consequently, hills cease being a symbol of life and become lifeless terrain elements again that serve solely as beautiful natural decor. This change in the role of a natural element is representative of a difficult choice of whether to give birth. The disbelief in the reality of the valley echoes the same fear. There are also other landscape features that are connected with this dilemma.
The barren land on the other side of the railroad is juxtaposed to the greenery and hills in the aspect of harmonious and loving family relationship versus abortion and relationship stalemate. If river banks represent the positive outcomes of a maternity decision, then that which is beyond their eyesight are the notions they dread. Jig, looking at the valley, says, “We could have all this,” which seems to be life, pleasure, love, and harmony (Hemingway 477).
She changes her mind again and contradicts this remark. The positive symbolic elements that the valley and hills represent will lose their relevance if she decides against having a child. Thus, the landscape on which nothing can grow, such as the wasteland on the other side of the railroad, represents abortion. The elements of this barren terrain vividly illustrate the outcomes of it. The two types of scenery are also intricately connected to symbols in other ways.
The valley, as opposed to flat, treeless plains, can be symbols of happiness and infertility, respectively, that represent a family and the end of the relationship. The valley is the dream of a happy life that abortion will make impossible. Jig understands that once the abortion is made and the life is taken, “you never get it back,” which might mean that she may lose the potential to give birth again (Hemingway 477). Nature illustrates this decision when she looks at the barren side of the landscape. It appears that nature as a whole, including hills and dry land, forms a strong connection to the protagonists’ dilemma.
In conclusion, the valley and treeless wasteland are symbolic of the consequences of the protagonists’ life choices. Rich with vegetation, Ebro valley represents new life which becomes evident from Jig’s desire to animate the hills and concentrate on observing the beauty of trees and rivers. On the other hand, the dry land is the symbol of death and infertility which is seen through the dialogue with the American.
Hemingway, Ernest. “Hills like White Elephants.” The Story and Its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction, edited by Ann Charters, 6th ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003, pp. 475-478.
“The Snows of Mt. Kilimanjaro” by E. Hemingway Research Paper
Literary artists exhibit their writing talents by creating different literary works. Some of these literary works include novels, plays, and short stories. Each type of literary work has got unique features that differentiate it from other literary works. A short story uses all the elements of that genre to develop his or her theme; in fact, all the elements are used to lead the reader to the central meaning of the work.
The Plot of the Short Story
Plot refers to the pattern of events in a short story. The short story ‘The snows of Mt. Kilimanjaro’ begins with a description of Mount Kilimanjaro followed by a tale of the frozen carcass of a leopard. The story then introduces Harry and his wife Helen on their tour to Africa. Harry is suffering from gangrene and is about to die. As his situation worsens, he talks about his death in a manner that angers his wife. He says that it would be difficult for a rescue plane to save him because of their location. Helen is determined to help him go through his problems, but his self-pity and hopelessness discourage her. Harry then starts thinking about the varying experiences he has gone through in life.
Harry remembers his earlier trips to Europe when he was looking for information about the war, hunting in the mountains, playing games, and getting information about a bombed train with Australian officers. He falls asleep, and when he wakes up towards the end of the day, he realizes that Helen, who has been on a shooting trip, has just returned. He tells her that she has been a good wife, but he regrets having spent his life marrying rich women who ignored his writing talent (Bloom 71).
Harry then remembers how he developed gangrene as he tried to take photographs of water-bucks. He was scratched on the knee and failed to use iodine. After this memory, he remembers his encounter in Constantinople, where he fought over a prostitute with a British fighter and then headed to Anatolia. He recalls that he, later on, went back to Paris and joined the wife he was married to at that time. As Harry and Helen eat their supper, Harry remembers how his grandfather’s log house was consumed by fire. He also narrates to Helen his fishing experience in the Black Forest and his relationship with the poor neighbors. In his last memories, he recalls an officer called Williamson who suffered a bomb attack.
Eventually, Harry lies on a cot as he remembers his experiences in life. While on the cot, he experiences death and associates it with a hyena in the campsite. Helen transfers his cot and has a feeling that Harry is dying after realizing that he could not speak. Harry is dreaming of a man known as Compton who comes to rescue him, and as he is being taken to the plane, he could see the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, which is his destination. Helen is woken up by a hyena’s cry in the night only to see Harry on his cot dead (Bloom 75).
The setting is defined as the physical environment where a story takes place (Harpham 156). It is an important component of a short story since it gives the readers a picture of the physical surroundings where the story takes place. This story’s setting is a campsite near Tanganyika plains on the last evening of Harry, who is about to die of gangrene. Tanganyika plains are found in Africa, which is a land full of light and heat.
These are the qualities that compel Harry to choose this place because the darkness in his soul would be illuminated. He is also optimistic that he would get inspirational warmth that would melt his frozen talents. The irony of the matter is that the land that is supposed to be his solace turns out to be his graveyard. Of great importance in this story’s setting is how contrast is made between the plains and the mountain.
Kilimanjaro becomes the final landscape, which rises high above the plains pleasantly. It is a physical and final sign of innocence, purity, and aspiration in a world characterized by misery and corruption. Before his death, Harry goes beyond the hills, forests, plains, and the clouds. His journey enables him to see the peak of Kilimanjaro in an apparent instance of ecstasy. Eventually, a world where comfort and money are the gods is symbolically abandoned as Harry finds the ‘House of God’ in the holy mountain.
A short story theme refers to an abstract concept that the author focuses on (Harpham 185). It can also be defined as an idea frequently occurring throughout the literary work. In this short story, death stands out as the central theme. For many years, Harry has always been curious about death. When he realizes that he is close to it, his curiosity disappears, and he feels angered and tired. The sensation of death strikes him on the chest like a heavy burden. The perceptions that come with death include the fading of the daylight into a dark night, vultures flying all over the camp, sounds of a hyena, and the turning of conscious thinking into fantasy. The other theme evident in this short story is the impact of wealth on talent. Harry is described as a promising author, but marrying wealthy women destroys his writing career.
Symbolism is the use of one thing to represent another by association (Gates and McKay 40). This short story uses various natural symbols. Firstly, the mountains are used to symbolize innocence, purity, and aspiration, while the plains symbolize corruption and suffering. Secondly, the dead leopard symbolizes the shameful and painless death caused by gangrene that Harry faces. The dead leopard is contrasted with the body of the man that is rotting in the plains.
The leopard goes beyond the borders of nature and ventures into an unknown world, causing its heroic death. The man does not try, he remains where he is, does not achieve anything, and he finally dies as he curses the darkness. The animal is a symbol of an artist who faces a noble death as he searches the summit, while gangrene symbolizes the corruption and the defiled talent.
Helen is also used symbolically to represent threats and danger. She symbolizes richness and wealth, which are the elements that corrupt the mind of Harry. Despite the fact that wealth can buy comfort and security, it eventually destroys Harry. Money and women are therefore used as agents that combine to assist Harry in his journey of self-destruction. Helen is therefore used as a symbol of death that destroys Harry (Gates and McKay 45).
Characterization refers to the author’s presentation of the characters. The main characters in this short story are Harry, who is a writer, and his wife, Helen. Harry is a round character who is ambiguous, and the full revelation of his qualities can only be achieved as the story comes to an end. Throughout the story, two different attributes Harry are brought out. The first Harry is a disillusioned person on the brink of death who tries to deal with his guilt. The second Harry is adventurous and a tough person who takes challenges wherever he goes.
On the other hand, Helen is a flat character who does not go through many changes throughout the story. Although Harry portrays Helen as a negative character who symbolizes death, it is ironic that she handles him in a manner that portrays her as a symbol of life. She is concerned about his welfare and tries to make him comfortable. She keeps on encouraging him, and even when he has given up on hopes of a rescue plane arriving, she gives him hope. She also tells him that the noise made by hyenas does not announce his death because that is a common occurrence in camps. Unlike Harry, Helen is a character who does not bother to look for the hidden attributes of people and does not remember the past. Neither is she disturbed by the fear of the future.
Style of the short story
This short story is told in the third person narrative style and uses dialogue. The sections representing the numerous moments of Harry’s unconsciousness are italicized. This is giving the reader a clear picture of a man who has traveled widely in Europe and has relationships with many women. Hemmingway’s style conveys Harry’s disturbing conscience, which has a close association with his loneliness that is difficult to eliminate. The author uses imagery appropriately, which gives the readers a clear sense of place through vivid descriptions. To suggest the imminent death of Harry, the author uses vultures and the wails of a hyena, attracted by the rotting body of Harry. He also links the rotting body of Harry with poetry (Gates and McKay 55).
Point of View
Point of view refers to how the author tells the story to the reader. The short story portrays the feelings that go through the mind of individuals like Harry, who is about to die and regrets his wasted life. On the other hand, the point of view of Helen, who is not afraid of imminent death, is limited. The short story involves a dialogue between Harry and Helen as he struggles with his stream of consciousness. He remembers his experiences early in life before meeting Helen. Through the thoughts and dialogues that Harry is involved in, the reader can understand his point of view regarding his condition and memories of his entire life. Harry views his life as wasted because he has not achieved his dreams and blames the wealthy women for keeping him as a possession.
Tone refers to the attitude of the writer towards the content of his work. In this short story, the tone can be described in various ways. Firstly, it can be described as regretful since Harry is regretting having wasted all his life. He says that his involvement with wealthy women has caused him not to realize his dreams. Secondly, the tone can also be described as serious since Harry is worried about his death and is always remembering his past. On the contrary, Helen is not afraid of death and comforts Harry instead.
Bloom, Harold. Ernest Hemingway. New York: Infobase Publishing, 1999. Print.
Gates, Henry and Nellie McKay. The Norton anthology of African American literature. New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 2004. Print.
Harpham, Geofrey. A Glossary of Literary Terms. New York: Cengage Learning, 2011. Print.
The Image of a Modern Man in Hemingway’s “The Chauffeurs of Madrid” and Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums” Essay
Both Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck are well-known American modernist authors of the twentieth century, whose works represent the urgent social issues of the era in which they lived. Protagonists created by the authors embody general perceptions of the modern man of that period, his or her dreams and aspirations, and internal struggles. Though from their subjective point of view, writers empower their protagonists with virtues that were respected at that time.
In The Chauffeurs of Madrid, Hemingway through Hipolo represents how a man should behave in the face of war, whereas in The Chrysanthemums, Steinbeck portrays the struggle of a modern woman for equality through Elisa. The given essay compares and contrasts the images of Elisa and Hipolito as people of the first half of the twentieth century.
Both Elisa and Hipolito perform their work skillfully; it is highlighted that they are good at what they are doing. Hemingway depicts Hipolito as a diligent and punctual chauffeur by saying “and if you told him to show up at six a.m., he was there ten minutes before the hour” (289). Hipolito is calm and accurate, and “as solid as the rock he looked to be cut from”, which speaks to the quality of his character rather than the constitution (Hemingway 289).
Elisa, in turn, is an awesome gardener, which is reflected in her strong chrysanthemum crop. She approaches her gardening with exceptional energy, which indicates that she loves what she does. A particular appreciation of her gardening skills is expressed in her husband’s words “you’ve got a strong new crop coming” and “you’ve got a gift with things” (Steinbeck 2). Therefore, it may be assumed that both authors perceive a modern man to be good at his or her job.
However, Hemingway goes beyond the professional qualities of Hipolito and praises his bravery and courage by saying that when men like Hipolito fight they always win due to their resilience, fortitude, and perseverance (289). This is a turning point in the story, as Hipolito is no longer represented as a civilian chauffeur, but as a specimen of courage, valor, and persistence. Hemingway portrays him as “not romantic” and “not afraid to die”, claiming that people like Hipolito are the best ones of their time (289). Hipolito is the only one out of four chauffeurs who is a positive character with no shortcomings. Even though Hemingway does not overemphasize the virtues of his protagonist, the deeds through which he is portrayed eloquently illustrate that Hipolito is an idealized man.
Contrary to Hemingway’s protagonist whose feelings and emotions are not described in the story, Steinbeck presents a vivid and detailed picture of Elisa’s emotions in order to disclose her personality. In The Chrysanthemums, through Elisa, the struggle for gender equality is portrayed. The main theme of Steinbeck’s story is a capable yet vulnerable woman whose social and personal fulfillment is impossible due to the traditional conception of a woman’s role in a man dominated society.
In contrast to Hemingway who tells what a modern man should be like and what he should do, Steinbeck shows what a modern woman is, what internal struggle she has, and from what she suffers. Contrary to Hipolito, Elisa is an ordinary woman facing typical problems just like other females of that time. The fact that she wears a gardening costume making her figure “blocked and heavy” does not speak of her being repressed by the role her husband handed to her (Steinbeck 1).
Instead, she feels comfortable with her husband who seems to take care of her. What Elisa is oppressed with is social perceptions of what a woman should be and her own vision of herself. Steinbeck portrays Elisa as an ordinary woman of the first half of the twentieth century who feels frustrated in a masculine world and is unhappy with the traditional female role. When Elisa talks to a tinker, one may notice her deep desire to live in a world of adventure and freedom, especially when the man says that society would not allow that kind of thing.
However, Elisa is feminine, and the fact that she starts crying as she sees her flowers lying abandoned on the road speaks to her vulnerable nature. Though being strong and gifted, Elisa is a woman who does not want to be like a man. Rather, she wants to try doing what men do in order to discover new dimensions of herself and become more satisfied with her life. Contrary to Hipolito who is represented as a holistic person and whose deeds may be unambiguously interpreted, Elisa appears to be full of contradictions. Just like the chrysanthemums which have delicate and tender flowers yet strong and long stems, Elisa has both feminine and masculine traits making her feel undecided and oppressed.
It may be stated that Hemingway appraises his protagonist by saying that he would bet on Hipolito rather than Franco, or Mussolini, or Hitler (291). This final phase of The Chauffeurs of Madrid reiterates that Hipolito is what a modern man should be in the face of war, according to Hemingway. The attitude of Steinbeck to Elisa is neutral, as the author neither sympathizes nor criticizes her. One may state that Elisa is an average modern woman who, though desiring to behave like a man, cannot let go of her femininity.
In summary, being indisputable giants of twentieth-century literature, in their works, Hemingway and Steinbeck depict an image of a modern man. In The Chauffeurs of Madrid, through Hipolito, Hemingway represents how a modern man should behave in wartime. In The Chrysanthemums, through Elisa, Steinbeck portrays the internal struggles and contradictions of an ordinary modern woman, as she discovers both feminine and masculine sides.
Hemingway, Ernest. Hemingway on War. Edited by Sean Hemingway, Simon & Schuster, 2012.
Steinbeck, John. The Long Valley. Edited by John H. Timmerman, Penguin Books, 1995.