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Earnest Hemmingway Essay, Research Paper

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Miller Heminway, the second of six children, was born on July 21, 1899 at his grandfather’s house in Oak Park, Chicago. His family then moved to Bear Lake, where he spent his first years. It was here that he caught his first fish at the age of three. At the age of six, his granfather died, leaving the family the large home where Ernest was born. It was here, in Oak Park, that Ernest grew up. His father taught him all about nature and the out doors, some of his teachings included; how to build fires, how to cook in the open, how to use an axe, and how to make bullets. Physical endurance and courage were also highly valued characteristics. This kind of up-brining is likely where Hemingway got the charateristics for the famed ‘Hemingway Hero.’

The so called ‘Hemingway Hero’ is the foundation for the main charater in all of Hemingway’s stories. The ‘Hemingway Hero’ is always a man, more so, he is a rough, woodsy type; a real man’s-man. He drinks, he hunts, and he acts first then asks questions later. He goes from one woman to another, and women are good for little more than reproduction. (Shoemaker) He has hopes, dreams, convictions and beliefes which he strictly follows, but he does not talk about them. This is one great example of the ‘Hemingway Hero’ being a man: “How much did you suffer?” “Plenty,” replied the old man.” (Ernest Hemingway, “Old Man and The Sea” 126.) This conversation took place after the old man had been fighting a twelve hundred pound marlin for three days with little drink and only raw fish to eat.

This pattern of the ‘Hemingway Hero’ is consistent in all of Hemingway’s writings. Santiago, from “The Old Man and the Sea,” has a striking similarity to each of the injured soldiers in “In Another Country.” All of these men are proud and it is shown in the soldiers thoughts about his medals (Adventures in American Literature 649) and in Santiago’s belief that a man can be destroyed, but not defeated; which is also major theme in many of Hemingway’s writings. However, the hero varies from story to story in their realism. In “In Another Country” the characters display a more human quality of emotion, where as Santiago seems to have a super-human restraint and is always stoic.

Hemingway uses most every kind of literary device imaginable in his writing. One major item is the use of understatement (Shoemaker), the quote in the second paragraph is an excellent example as is; “It is very difficult,” he said “I am utterly unable to resign myself,” (Adventures in American Literature, 651.) This quote is from an injured soldier morning the loss of his recently wed bride. The technique of understatement helps to tie in the strong will associated with the ‘Hemingway Hero.’ Another of Hemingway’s techniques is the use of very specific action verbs, these specific words help to paint a vivid picture of the activity in the scene.

Yet another technique is Hemingway’s extensive use of symbolism. In “The Old Man and the Sea” some of the major symbols are; Santiago, the marlin, the sea, the ‘Great DiMaggio’ and several others. Some of the symbols meanings are simple; the sea and the marlin represent life for the fishermen, the marlin also represents both an enemy and a kindred spirit to Santiago. The meaning of Santiago and DiMaggio are somewhat more difficult to understand. They are both ‘Hemingway Heros’ with DiMaggio being the model hero and Santiago looking up to him. Santiago could also be said to represent the old ways, loyalties to friends, and respect of nature.

When you truly look at the character of Ernest Hemingway he was not quite as great a man as the world believes. He was likely disturbed from an early age from the death of his father. Through his ‘Hero,’ we see that he was something of a sexist and an advocate of drinking. While he has written many great stories, they lack originality in that they are merely embellished events of his life or events of his time, as is the case with “The Old Man and the Sea.” His writing is dated in that some of the qualities of his ‘Hero’ are no longer desirable, such as being close minded and stubborn. Also the notion of “useless women” and the tendency to drink are quite out dated and not fashionable in this time period.


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