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Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Miller Hemingway essays explain he was one of America’s most influential writers, is respected primarily as a novelist and short story writer. Essays show his style was plain and straight to the point with few adjectives and many short sentences. The experiences of an author create an innate richness to his works.  Hemingway's writing is a prolific example of the experiences of an author's life being mirrored in his poems, short stories and novels. Hemingway’s life was overshadowed with long bouts of depression, an aspect that is clearly seen in his collection of writings. Hemingway’s negative attitudes and views are apparent in his characters, themes, and images.

Ernest Hemingway

Perhaps the most influential experience in Hemingway's life was World War I.  Many of his works revolve around war and wartime themes. In A Farewell to Arms, he expounds on the grim aspects of war and its effects on humanity and those involved.

While carrying a wounded Italian soldier to safety, Hemingway was hit by machine-gun fire and hospitalized.  While he enjoyed the glories of war, it only enhanced his mood swings, often leaving him anxious and depressed.  The stress and seriousness of battle left him more vulnerable to the affects of his disorder.   Depression was to follow Hemingway through out his life, most acutely during periods of loneliness and tension.

Many critics have claimed that he revolves solely around this negative view and that “Hemingway’s world” is not only “one in which things do not grow and bear fruit”, but his "vision is obsessed by violence" In "A Way You'll Never Be and A Farewell to Arms," Hemingway carefully explores the dark reality of the human condition during wartime, through symbolism, images, and the development of his characters.

Some of Hemingway's best known works are as follows:

Critics of Hemingway allege that much of his work is centered around the grim side of life and his "vision is obsessed by violence".  Another parallel example of Hemingway's work and attitude about life is the novel Islands in the Stream. Thomas Hudson is catapulted through his life by events out of his control.  The nature of war and one's duty to country and humanity was a theme that Thomas took on his shoulders.  While politically cynical, Thomas knew his duty.  In regards to the war and killing, Thomas realized that he had to do his duty.  "But you have to do it. Sure, he said.  But I don't have to be proud of it.  I only have to do it well." That is the central theme of a hero, the recognition of duty, at personal cost.  Thomas Hudson was a leader, in a quiet, passive sense;  An observer of the world around him and a master at dealing with what that world handed him.  This is typical of Hemingway's style and characters in these novels and many others of his famous works. As in many of his works, Hemingway once again writes of a man who stays the course through all trials and obstacles, even if it costs him his life. While similar, "Islands In the Stream" may even be said to be better than "Farewell to Arms" because it reaches further back into the protagonist's character and makes his tragic end all the more heart wrenching. "Islands" is a great representation of the aspects of Hemingway's writing. His unrequited loves, his European memories, his role as a father, all of these are shared with the reader in "Islands." Critic Charles Anderson notes " ...the Hemingway still mostly admired and argued over is the author of the early fictions- The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms.... Perhaps their staying power derives not from their exterior alone but also from their tender spots of sensibility carefully nurtured in a dehumanized world- those passages of muted lyricism that provide both a measure and a meaning for protective toughness. Rare and brief as they are, they achieve a special resonance by being sounded against the hard polished surface of his typical prose". Hemingway's works were undetectable, by his friends and colleagues, from fact or fiction.  His novels served as the ultimate ending to his own beginnings.  His own tragic view and take on life were at the very least evident but perhaps the central theme of most of his literary work.

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