Term Paper: Ernest Hemingway Was Not Only Commanded Respect

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Ernest Hemingway was not only commanded respect and admiration when he was alive but still he is regarded as one of the influencing figures of the twentieth century in the realm of literature. He is being taught in schools. His biographies are still being read and published. Million have read his masterpieces and his work, stories, characters and his life have been a source of fascination for many.

Brief Biography

Born to Clarence Hemingway, a medical doctor, and Grace (Hall) Hemingway, on July 21, 1899, in Oak Park, Illinois, Ernest Hemingway was the first son in the family. When he was born, he had an elder sister. He had a conventional and typical middle class upbringing. There are some peculiar stories that have floated around regarding his mother dressing him up as a girl in his childhood. It has been said that his mother considered him twin to his 18-month-older sister Marcelline. He studied in Oak Park High school and graduated from there in 1917. Right from the school years he was actively involved in writing. Apart from writing he was also into sports.

His father was a country doctor. After graduating from High school he went on to become a reporter for Kansas City Star. As soon as the World War I started he served as an ambulance driver for the Red Cross in France and in the Italian infantry. He also got wounded while he was serving in the World War I. The mortar explosion on July 8 injured him so badly that he had to suffer from the pain as around two hundred shell fragments were removed from his legs. This injury left scars on him physically but he was also hurt psychologically. Another event that left him hurt was his love affair while he was recuperating in Milan with an American nurse, Agnes Von Kurowsky. Agnes was elder and senior and their relationship ended despite talk of marriage between them. This unsuccessful love affair was also a jolt on Hemingway. His physical trauma continued later as he also survived two near-fatal plane crashes in Africa in 1954. Later he resumed his work as a journalist in France as a correspondent for the Toronto Star. While he was working in Paris, he also got involved in the community of revered and literary expatriates like Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound. He also became a correspondent during the Spanish Civil War. It was during these days that his true style of writing started emerging and became a sort of foreground for his fictions. During this period his first of four marriages with Hadley Richardson took place in 1921. In 1992, Hemingway had to suffer another trauma when all his writing work done so far was stolen that was packed in a suitcase from a Paris Railway Station. This event led to the differences between Hadley and Hemingway and their marriage finally ended because of this uncalled for event.

In his life he saw two World Wars. He also fought in the World War II. After World War II he adopted Cuba as his abode in 1945 but the regime of Fidel Castro was not tolerant of him and other intelligentsia. Idaho in the United States became his next and final resting-place. His last days of life were very tumultuous as he suffered from mental and health problems. In July 1961, Hemingway shot himself and moved to the next world.

Literary Achievements

In our Time was the first book of Hemingway's stories that was published in 1925 by a New York publisher. But before his work was published he had to struggle as a journalist first. Later, his initial works that hit the press were two pamphlets published in Paris by his American Friends who supported his experimental writing. His early interest and inclination for experimental and non-commercial writing that later on also got published in magazines earned him repute. This repute helped him in taking out his first book. "Indian Camp" and "Big, Two-Hearted River," were important stories in his book. Many people have drawn parallel to the characters in his stories and his real life. For example discussion of father and son in "Indian Camp" about different topics such as suicide were considered important as both Hemingway and his father committed suicide I their lives.

His next collection of his finest stories appeared in 1927 called "Men without Women." In this collection, he used dialogues to depict emotions and feelings in the form of conversation between the characters.

Though, these stories were his finest stories but it was his two novels that earned him the reputation of a classic writer. "The sun also rises" was published in 1926 and was based in the backdrop of a war again a reflection of his personal life to some extent. His second classic novel was "A Farewell to Arms" published in 1929. This novel was not only a bestseller but it also earned critical acclaim for Hemingway. This novel again had a First World War background. With these publications Hemingway became a classic writer and a famous personality at the age of thirty. After these highly successful novels, Hemingway could not match the excellence of these novels again for quite some time. His short stories, "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" and "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" later were also published followed by a novel "To Have and Have Not" in 1937.In this novel he attempted to use complex themes and could not succeed. But this novel was also made in to a successful Hollywood movie. "The most famous adaptation of a Hemingway novel is "To Have and Have Not," produced by Warner Brothers in 1944 with Humphrey Bogart and the 18-year-old Lauren Bacall in her first film" (Oliver, 1999). Later he also attempted social satire which was not his forte in "For Whom the Bell Tolls" that did not win him critics' approval but it did meet commercial success. After this novel in 1940, a decade of silence ensued and his worst work appeared in 1950 by the title of "Across the River and Into the Trees." This was hailed as one of the worst novels written during the period. "His earlier works can sometimes be described as containing "characteristic influences of naturalism" (Bradley 1339). Later in his career, Hemingway once again took the alienation from society route": ('Influence of Realism, n.d). Hemingway rebound with the novel "The Old Man and the Sea" in 1952 that also got him the Nobel Prize in 1954.

American Literature and Culture

By 1900s America became a happening place for people who wanted to venture into any kind of business. It is in the following years that American Literature also transformed. A group of rebels also emerged on the literary scene who thought that there was something lacking in America that could be found in European countries. They were looking for a cosmopolitan culture to nurture their literary talents. Paris, London and other such European cities became centers of literary and artistic activities. Initially American Literature was seeped in old Victorian style but with the works of rebel writers brought modernism into the American literature. TS Elliot was among such writers who studied at Harvard and Oxford and went on to become accomplished writer. Similarly, Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound also became well-known figures hailing from American soil and rising to unprecedented literary heights. Ernest Hemingway's name also comes in mind with names of Stalwarts of American literature who to this day influence the writing style of many. "In some ways, it is Hemingway's style that has had the most influence on American life, for American newspapers and magazines and even television reporters in the United States speak a language that reflects Hemingway's sparse style, devoid of florid excesses and rhetorical flourishes" (Nagel, 2000).

Hemingway did not attend prestigious institutions in America but his writing style was based on his love of reading and his life experiences particularly World War I. Tolstoy was seen as a big influence on his writing style. The term "The Lost Generation" coined by Gertrude Stein is used for these writers who at some point left America and then came back later to define American Culture and literature.

Hemingway was not only a literary figure but he became popular as his works started bring translated into Hollywood movies. He became part of the bigger American culture. "He was in fact the first "creative-artist-as-star" in America. I say "creative" artist to distinguish his celebrity from that of "performing artists," a tradition that would include all those Hollywood celebrities, not to mention musical celebrities like Caruso and dozens of others" (Dupuis, 2000).

Criticism

The main criticism that Hemingway gets is the fact that his characters were mainly male heroes who were rough and tough. These characters were seen drinking, hunting and involved in macho activities. He used female characters in diminutive roles that are beautiful and yet not accomplished. His early upbringing with emphasis on physical aspects in the outdoors by his… [END OF PREVIEW]

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