Ernest Hemingway: A Literary Marvel
"One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh; but the earth abideth forever . . . The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to the place where he arose . . . The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits . . . .All the rivers run into the sea; ye the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again." (Ecclesiastes 1:4-7)
Ernest Hemingway's style of writing is a unique form. In almost all of his novels the protagonist is a war veteran, which he himself was. He was known to travel the world. These places sparked the imagination to create novels that led to a Nobel Prize for literature. To better understand the impact of Ernest Hemingway as an American author, one must have a description of his background, a critical analysis of his work The Sun Also Rises, and his impact and importance upon the literary world.
Ernest Hemingway was known as a simple, creative writer and person. Leonard Unger wrote, "He had an extraordinary reputation as a colorful human being." He was born July 2, 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois. His father Dr. Clarence "Ed" Hemingway was a physician, and his mother, Grace, taught piano and voice lessons. He spent summers in upper Michigan, where he found a passion for hunting and fishing. After graduating from Oak Park High, his writing career began. He learned how to get the reader's heart writing for The Kansas City Star. He wanted to enlist in the army for WWI, but his eyesight was not good enough, so he drove a Red Cross ambulance in Italy. On July 8, 1918 he was severely wounded, and was hospitalized for many months. He married his first wife, Hadley Richardson, who was eight years older, and had a son named John, a.k.a. "Bumby". They divorced in 1926, the year The Sun Also Rises was published, and married the rich Pauline Pfieffer in 1927. They had two sons, Patrick and Gregory, and bought a house in Key West, Florida. Hemingway and Pfieffer divorced in 1940, and Hemingway fell in love married again in 1940 to Martha Ellis Gellhorn. Martha was also an effective journalist and write about the conflicts of the Spanish-American War, World War II, Vietnam, and other issues in the middle East. The marriage ended when she left him five years later; she was the only one of his four wives to leave him. Ernest married again to Mary Welsh, a stunning blond journalist from Minnesota, in 1946. In 1953-54, He and his wife Mary survived two plane crashes, which left him with a fractured skull, dislocated shoulder, and injured spine; this time it really hindered his ability to write. He received the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1953 for The Old Man and the Sea, and received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1954. Due to all of Hemingway's sicknesses, depression, and many injuries, he committed suicide on July 2, 1961.
"The Sun Also Rises was Ernest Hemingway's first serious venture into the craft of the novel, and in some ways the 1926 novel may be his best"(Lewis 142). People like Robert W. Lewis can agree that "in The Sun Also Rises, the dominant themes that run through all of Hemingway's novels begin to emerge"(142). Hemingway has put emphasis on many different themes but "the subject of Hemingway's novels has been chosen in this first novel, and that subject is love"(142). The methods of his first writings have been said to be ironical and "one can see Hemingway destroying romantic illusions much easier than one can see the construction of positive ideals"(142). One could think that when reading into The Sun Also Rises a prediction of rebirth of love can seem possible, but really "the impression of the novel is negative" according to Robert Lewis, "and loss rather than eternal return and renewal is clearly more strongly felt, in spite of the title and the Biblical epigraph"(142). Hemingway's outlook on women and relationships is also revealed through his novels: "Hemingway is only really comfortable in dealing with men without women.' The relationsof battle-companions, friends on fishing tripsa bullfighter and his managerthese leave him to simplicity and truth"(Fielder 143) And it was also said that "he does not know what to do with them [women] beyond taking them to bed"(143). Throughout the novel, many things have a symbolic function, such as the non-stop partying and drinking. "The amount of liquor a person drinks is symbolicof both the kind of person he is, and the emotional condition he is in"(Wagner 217). Although the theme of this novel is love, and the characters all feel the emotion, no character truly discusses the passion of it. "Love, hate, grief, religion, death, fearthese are the prime movers of the novel, yet the words scarcely appear.(Wagner 217). In conclusion of the critical analysis, "The Sun Also Rises is a difficult book to read correctly, until the reader understands the way it works; then it becomes a masterpiece of concentration, with every detail conveying multiple impressions, and every speech creating both single character and complex interrelationships.(217)
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Ernest Hemingway: A Literary Marvel