Ernest Hemingway’s tough, Terse prose and short, declarative sentences did more to change the style of written English that any other writing in the twentieth century. II. Ernest Hemingway has had many great accomplishments in his historical life but just one event has hardly sticks out from the rest.
The Old Man and the Sea is one of Hemingway’s most enduring works. Told in Language of great simplicity and power, it is the story of an old Cuban fisherman, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Here Hemingway recasts, in strikingly contemporary style, the classic theme of courage in the face of defeat, of personal triumph, won from loss. Written in 1952, this hugely successful novel confirmed his power and presence in the literacy world and played a large part in his winning the 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature. This novel also won the Pulitzer Prize award. III. July 21st, 1899, Ernest Hemingway was born.
He was born to DR Clarence Edmonds and Grace Hall Hemingway. He grew up in a small conservative town called Oak Park, Illinois. His father, a practicing doctor, taught him how to hunt and fish, while his mother, wished to make him a professional musician. His upbringing was very conservative and somewhat religious. He attended Oak Park and River Forest High School, where he distinguished himself in English. His main activities where swimming, boxing, and of course writing. In 1917, turning his back on University, he decided to move to booming Kansas City where he got a job as a cub reporter on the Kansas City Star. At the train station, his father, who later on disgusted Ernest by committing suicide, kissed his son tenderly good-bye with tears in his eyes. This moment was eventually captured in For Whom the Bell Tolls. Hemingway wrote that he felt ‘so much older than his father… that he could hardly bear it’. The Star was the first to introduce Ernest to news writing which demands brief, to the point sentences, that contain a smooth easy following of ideas. He would later adapt this style to his fiction. In May of 1918, Hemingway became an honorary second lieutenant in the Red Cross. He could not join the army due to a defective left eye (resentfully inherited from his mother). On his first day of service across seas, he and other ambulance drivers were assigned the horrific duty of picking up body parts from an exploded munitions factory. Death, mostly of women, on such a scale was most definitely another very shocking moment in Hemingway’s young life. But he soon recovered from this experience and became known as the man who was always where the action is. He would often sneak cigarettes and chocolate to soldiers on the Italian front. It was on one of these occasions that he was severely wounded by an Austrian trench mortar. Even with over a hundred pieces of shrapnel and an Austrian machine gun bullet logged in his leg he managed to carry a wounded soldier a hundred yards to safety. He got the Italian Medal of Valor for his courageous action. He spent his recovery time at the Ospedale Croce Rossa Americana, in Milan. It is there that he met and fell for a thirty year-old nurse called Agnes Hannah. To Ernest’s disappointment, Agnes was not willing to embark in a relationship. Ernest, who had not yet turned twenty, who was a war hero, a journalist and a wounded soldier, was too young for beautiful Agnes . With the will to write fiction, he moved to Chicago where most of his work was refused. He lived by writing for the Toronto Star and working as a sparing partner for boxers. It was in Chicago that Hemingway met Elizabeth Hadley Richardson. She was an innocent young woman with graceful features and a strong attraction for the eight year younger Hemingway. Not having much income and wanting to marry Hadley, Ernest chose to move to Paris. Hemingway managed to convince the Toronto Star to accept a series of Letters from Europe. The young couple also received money from Hadley’s trust fund while Ernest continued to work as a sparing partner for boxers. In Paris, Hemingway encountered many of the greats (historically known as The Expatriates). He met Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, Scott Fitzgerald , Ford Madox Ford and John Dos Passos. It was Stein who took him under her wing. She had been working to renew literary writing by removing useless gothic, Victorian and archaic forms. She was the first to point Hemingway in the direction of the ‘simple declarative sentence’, an attempt to make words communicate concretely and efficiently. It was also during this period of his life that Hemingway discovered the bull fight, the Pamplona bull run and the famous San Fermin July Fiesta. He would later write several books and short stories about bull fighting and the many events that surround this tragic ritual. Among these are Death in the Afternoon and The Dangerous Summer. Quickly after Patrick’s birth, they moved on to what would remain Hemingway’s only true residence in the United States– Key West, Florida. It was there that a whole new world broke itself open to the sportsman in Ernest. Fishing the deep sea for great fish like the tarpon and the barracuda was his newest love. But even in Key West, a heavenly earth, tragedy struck Ernest. His father, struggling with diabetes and angina pectoris, had put a bullet through his head. Hemingway was very ashamed of this. He had always felt that life was for the testing of death. Suicide was the surrendering of life to death. This was forbidden in his code of courage. From that day on, Ernest turned his back on his father. 1929 marked the release of A Farewell to Arms. It was instantly accepted as a great work by critics and the public. With the success of this novel, Hemingway became a true American writer. To many, he also became a hot headed fool. He would make loud remarks about some of his fellow writers. He would make proclamations about artistic integrity that he himself would often not respect. He clearly was no longer the shy young journalist he had been for the Kansas City Star. He had become Papa. Even with the beautiful surroundings of the Key West, Hemingway still longed for Spain. At the time he was tediously working on Death in the Afternoon, a marvelous, intriguing and powerful look at the bullfight. Although at times overdone, Death in the Afternoon will capture greatness and power in the minds of its readers, even those that are most disgusted by the bullfight. After Ernest finished Death in the Afternoon and Pauline gave birth to another boy, they set off for Africa. It was there that Hemingway hopped to find the true meaning of heroism. Three stories would result from the events of Africa. The Green Hills of Africa, which lacked effective meaning and carried a false tone of masculine hunting spirit, was the least successful. The Snows of Kilamanjaro was a much more potent tale about the hunt. Arguably one of Hemingway’s best, it drew from the troubles of a broken Scott Fitzgerald to depict the guilt of a talented yet unacomplished artist as he faced death. The last short story to result from Africa was The Short and Happy Life of Francis Macomber, which seeks the meaning of courage. The Spanish Civil War became official in July, 1936. Hemingway was offered a liaison’s job by the North American Newspaper Alliance (NANA). He accepted, much to Pauline’s opposition. Being a newsman, officially he remained neutral throughout the war. Despite this, Hemingway could often be overheard raising funds at social gatherings in America to fight the fascists back in Spain. In 1940, after the end of the Spanish Civil war Hemingway published For Whom the Bell Tolls. His long divorce with Pauline came to an end, and he married Martha Gellhorn. This would turn out to be the shortest and least understandable of his four marriages. During the Second World War, he equipped the Pilar with grenades and sub conning towers for the purpose of hunting Nazi submarines. This got it recognized as an official Q-ship. Of course its unshaven crooked crew never sunk a sub, they simply spent their days fishing off the Cuban coast. Martha, who was very involved in the war, was as always quick to criticize Ernest. She accused his personal navy of fraudulent use of gasoline rations. One night, when returning form a drunken party, Hemingway had a severe car accident. He was hospitalized with serious head trauma . Martha returned from the front to see him. Instead of comforting the banged up Ernest, she simply laughed at his sad state as he lay in the hospital. In June 1944, Hemingway finally set foot in Normandy. He made his way to the front, compiling a small army of undesirables by his side. With his small guerrilla force and a few bottles of scotch Hemingway marched in to Paris on the 25th of August, five days before the city was officially freed. He proceeded, by his own authority, to liberate the Traveler’s Club and the Ritz, in which he took a room as well as the bar. He was eventually awarded the Bronze Star for his part in the invasion. On another occasion, while Mary was staying with him at the Ritz, he shot a portrait of her husband. He placed the frame over the toilette in his room at the Ritz and discharged his hand gun into it. This flooded the room and several floors below it. Mary got a taste of Hemingway’s madness. Yet, in 1946, they were married. The war was over and they returned happily to La Finca. Across the River and into the Trees was the fist of a fictional three part saga about earth, sea and air. It takes place in Venice. It is about an old soldier, who is no longer at war and who falls for the sweet beauty of the much younger contessa Renata. Some said that this novel had a strong Shakespearean quality, many others only saw a pathetic tale about an old man infatuate with a young lady. Hemingway outdoes himself with charming descriptions of Venice in this book. Yet he fails in making his protagonist soldier sympathetic, a sign that he was self-conscious of his boisterous behavior. This book marked a turning point in Hemingway’s life, it stood for his passage into middle age, something he had not been willing to accept easily. In 1950, after having been dubbed as a burnout, Hemingway put himself to work on his greatest story ever. The Old Man and the Sea was published in 1952. It was a very touching tale about an old man who finds grandness of life and death while battling the great marlin. He is ready to heal down before the fish, when it finally gives in. While towing the animal back to shore, it’s beauty is destroyed by sharks. The humility of the old man, his handshake with grandeur, all make this tale truly beautiful. The Old Man and the Sea was Hemingway’s second entry in his triad about land, seas, and air. It got him the Pulitzer Prize, and in 1954, the greatest literary award of all, the Nobel Prize. Hemingway had three true phobias in his life: telephone conversations, the taxman, and public speaking. Yet he wrote a very touching speech that was read. It was at that moment that the end had begun for Papa Hemingway. Before the Nobel Prize in 1954, Ernest and Mary had sought out his fifth African safari. This time he was much less boisterous. He maintained a clear mind. He shot very well, and demonstrated great ability. Yet the safari ended badly with two plane crashes. The first had not been too serious. The second, although, had distraught Hemingway quit badly. His injuries included concussion, paralysis of the sphincter, first degree burns on his face, arm and head, a sprained right arm and shoulder, a crushed vertebra, and a ruptured liver, spleen and kidney. He was in continuos pain for quite a while. It was in Pamplona that Hemingway celebrated his sixtieth birthday. Mary had spent two months preparing for the event. She ordered champagne from Paris, Chinese foods from London, codfish from Madrid. She hired a shooting booth, fireworks specialist, flamenco dancers, waiters, barmen and cooks from all over the world. Guests included General C.T. Lanham from Washington, Ernest’s old Paris pals, Italian Royalty and the Maharajah of Behar. The party went twenty-four hours strait, from noon of July 21st to noon July 22nd. Seeking a calm place to recuperate and continue work on The Dangerous Summer, Ernest and Mary relocated to their cabin in Ketchum. But for Hemingway, Idaho was a far cry from the comforts of Cuba. His eyes were failing him to the point of not being able to write anymore. Even if he did manage to put down words, they often were incoherent, lacking any logical meaning. He could not drink anymore due to his kidney injury. Slowly but surely Ernest degenerated physically and psychologically. Even while still living in Cuba, Ernest began showing signs of paranoia and delusion. He would often say that FBI agents were following him. Although he had large enough savings to cover any immediate financial problems, he was constantly afraid of being hunted down by the IRS for tax evasion. It soon became evident to those around him that psychiatric help would be necessary. They managed to convince Ernest to institutionalize himself. Fearing he would refuse, it was agreed upon to tell him that the treatment was for his high blood pressure (Hemingway had always been wary of his blood pressure). On November 30th in 1960, Ernest Hemingway was committed to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. During the month of December he was given electroshock therapy. In January of 1961, Ernest was released. At first all seemed well again. He had even managed to write a few coherent words for the jacket of George Plimpton’s new book: On April 23rd, Ernest Hemingway tried to take his life for the first time. He had tried to put a shotgun to his head. It had failed the first time but he then later went on to put that one tragic bullet in his head. IV. My opinion of this book is phenomenal. It taught me a sensational amount of interesting facts about Ernest Hemingway. He went through so much in his life. A lot of events in his life interested me which made me keep on reading the book! Hemingway had may happy events but yet he went through some really hard times. All this added up in which he followed in his father’s foot steps and killed himself. Overall Ernest Hemingway should be a world figure for his excellence and commitment to writing. V. V. 1. In 1926 Ernest wrote the novel The Sun Also Rises. 2. In 1929 Hemingway wrote the novel A Farewell to Arms. 3. In 1932 Ernest wrote the novel Death in the Afternoon. 4. In 1940 Hemingway wrote the novel For Whom the Bell Tolls. 5. In 1950 Ernest wrote the novel Across the River and into the Trees. 6. In 1953 Hemingway wrote the most famous of his novels called The Old Man and the Sea. 7. In 1953 Ernest Hemingway won the Pulitzer Prize for is novel The Old Man and the Sea. 8. In 1954 he won the Nobel Prize in Literature. 9. On November 30th in 1960, Ernest Hemingway was committed to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. During the month of December he was given electroshock therapy. 10. In 1961 Ernest Hemingway took his own life by committing suicide.