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Rigney P Pweek8


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  • 1. Ernest Hemingway Personal Influences that are reflected in his works By James Rigney
  • 2. Hemingway was more than just a writer and journalist. He was a sportsman and this was reflected in the characters he wrote about in his short stories and novels. He used experiences with bullfighting, hunting, fishing, and soldiering as the backgrounds for his works. He also wrote about the human struggle with love and politics. Even some of Hemingway’s characters like Nick Adams of In Our Time are a reflection of Hemingway the man. Most of Hemingway’s fiction is created from his own personnel experiences. The novel A Farewell to Arms is a story taken from World War I when Hemingway volunteered for the Red Cross Ambulance Corps. Hemingway used the metaphors of games, sports, bullfights, and wars to describe his views of life. Let’s look at some of Hemingway’s stories and see what personnel experiences of his life played a part in developing the characters and background for the story.
  • 3. • The story Death in the Afternoon is written in the first person by Hemingway. The story’s background and characters comes from the time Hemingway spent in Spain. He enjoyed attending bullfights and often glorified the bravery of the bullfighter: • The chances are that the first bullfight any spectator attends may not be a good one artistically; for that to happen there must be good bullfighters and good bulls; artistic bullfighters and poor bulls do not make interesting fights, for the bullfighter who has ability to do extraordinary things with the bull which are capable of producing the intense degree of emotion in the spectator but will not attempt them with a bull which he cannot depend on to charge.
  • 4. • Much of this story comes from what he saw when he attended the bullfights. He put down into words the emotion he felt and experienced at the bullfights. Watching his first bullfight before he had trained himself to discriminate between good and bad bulls, or good and bad bullfighters, Hemingway remembered being profoundly moved by the kill. (Rovit 31) He wanted the reader to experience the bullfight the way he had in back in Spain. While writing this story Hemingway even thought about becoming a bullfight, but decided writing was his true passion. Another Hemingway novel that dealt with bullfighting was The Sun Also Rises. This novel is considered one of Hemingway’s best. Hemingway uses another character Jake that returns from World War I suffering from physical injuries and psychological damage. He journeys to Spain for the annual pilgrimage to Pamplona for the Running of the Bulls. Hemingway once again uses his own personal travel and experiences as the background for this story.
  • 5. • The story Big Two-Hearted River finds Hemingway’s character Nick Adams on a fishing trip back home after returning from World War I. He is suffering from shell shock or post- traumatic stress syndrome. He hopes this trip home will help relieve some of the pain he suffered in the war by going home and doing the thing he loves most fishing. Many aspect of the Nick Adams character comes from Hemingway himself. This was Hemingway’s alter-ego. Hemingway himself was wounded in World War I from an artillery shell and suffered from shell shock. The river that the Nick Adams character goes fishing in comes from the time Hemingway spent fishing the rivers in Michigan as a young writer. Many of the trauma's faced by the Nick Adams character are ones Hemingway dealt with as an ambulance driver in World War I. But the real point is that this extended and disciplined self-portrait became a significant story in its own right: the story of an American born with the century, complicated in boyhood and badly hurt in a war, who came to term with what happened and turned it to lasting fiction.
  • 6. • The novel A Farewell to Arms is the point of view from Lieutenant Frederic Henry who volunteers to be an ambulance driver in the Italian army. This story is considered semi- autobiographical, since it is taken from the time when Hemingway volunteered to be an ambulance driver in World War I. Frederic gets wounded and while back at the hospital falls in love with a nurse. Hemingway also fell in love with a nurse while recovering from the wounds he suffered during an artillery attack. His relationship however did not survive his return to America after the war. The story captures the strangeness of how life in a foreign army was for an American in Europe during World War I. In the characterization of young Frederic Henry, Hemingway again stands back from his own experience and turns it around, so that what has haunted him personally is now, in part, an object of regret and even ridicule. (Benson 81) The character Frederic struggles to gain awareness of the full implications of love and war. Hemingway once described this story as a Romeo and Juliet.
  • 7. • The next three stories Snows of Kilimanjaro, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, and Green Hills of Africa come from his experiences while visiting Africa. Green Hills of Africa is an account of his safari in Africa, while the other two stories are fictionalized stories from his travels to Africa. In “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro he was still determined to tell “the truth”; but now he was ready to invent the characters, and to imagine the circumstances in which they were to be entangled. (Baker 186) Green Hills of Africa is a four part journal of Hemingway’s month long safari into Eastern Africa with his wife. Part one is Pursuit and Conversation, part two is Pursuit Remembered, part three Pursuit and Failure, and part four Pursuit and Happiness. He even takes time to give his opinions of other authors and what he is reading. In the Snow of Kilimanjaro the story is centered around a writer named Harry who is on safari in Africa with his wife. Harry has been injured and believes he is dying. His wife is not too happy about being on a safari in Africa and wishes they would have went to Paris instead. She tells him that he would not have gotten injured like this in Paris. He dreams that a plane is coming to get him and take him away. Hemingway also fell ill while on safari in Africa and had to be evacuated by plane which he reflected in this story.
  • 8. • For Whom the Bells Toll is a story that takes place during the Spanish Civil War. The main character is an American named Robert Jordan who is a college professor that goes to Spain in order to help fight the fascist. Once again Hemingway draws on his experiences while covering and reporting on the Spanish Civil War. He took four trips to Spain between 1937 and 1939. Hemingway would go out to the areas after the battles had taken place and report on the atrocities that he saw. Also written from his time in Spain were the Fifth Column and Four Stories of the Spanish Civil War. These stories might seem autobiographical since many suggest Hemingway was an informant and weapons instructor during the civil unrest.
  • 9. • What carried Hemingway along his path was a total dedication to art and an unrelenting will to make his writing true. Hemingway, unlike many of his contemporaries, was there during the wars, the evacuations, the social convulsions. (Benson 191) The importance of direct experience during some of the major events in history helped shape many of his stories. He tried to recreate for the reader the experience he had to such emotional events. Hemingway wanted the reader to be able to feel what it is like to watch a bullfight and experience those emotions. What it was like on the front battle lines in World War I. Dealing with death and despair while at the same time falling in love with a nurse that is taking care of you. Hemingway had a way of throwing the hook out and reeling you in. It is much easier to write about subjects you have seen firsthand, than to make a story from scratch. This is why you have to respect Hemingway and his stories. The truth and emotions of a story will get you every time.