Persuasive Essay on Ernest Hemingway

Posted: October 17th, 2013





Persuasive Essay on Ernest Hemingway

The past century had many great writers. One such writer is Ernest Hemingway, who wrote fiction and non-fiction works. Hemingway is one of the greatest writers in history, and he received a Nobel Prize for his work in literature. . He wrote novels, short stories, poetry and plays. Some of his works include “The Sun also Rises”, “A Farewell to Arms”, “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, “The Old Man and the Sea”, and “In Our Time” among others. His work portrayed his love for the outdoors. He was not restricted to one particular genre, or to one theme. He wrote about the war, love, and the social life. This diversity and bravery in writing compelled many to love and admire his work. He was one of the few writers in history, who was not afraid to show the traditional roles of men. He portrayed men as soldiers, hunters, sports personalities and anglers. His work was largely influenced by the experiences he had growing up. He represented life as it was, drawing inspiration from his early life, his involvement in the war, his love life, and his journeys around the world.

Hemingway was born in Illinois in 1899. His mother was a musician, who often sang in the local church and had performances around the town. She usually encouraged her son to sing and participate in the choir, and he stressed him to learn the cello. His father was a physician who loved the outdoors, and he loved to hunt and fish. Hemingway’s mother sometimes dressed him in girl’s clothes (Boon and Boon 9). Despite this, Hemingway began acting like a man at a very early age. Perhaps it was this sort of upbringing, which compelled him to express his masculinity in his works. Ernest developed the love of the outdoors from him. The experiences, lessons and teachings from his parents would later influence his work. He began writing at an early age, and he wrote articles for the school newspaper and magazine. This gave him much needed experience, which he would later use as a journalist. At the age of eighteen, he worked as an ambulance driver for the army in Italy. He came back home after he was wounded badly during the war. He used the experiences he had in the war in some of his writings.

Many of his critics are of the opinion that he was violent and chauvinistic in his writings. One of the most influential books was the short story collection, “In Our Time”. The book has more violent scenes than most of his other works. It describes different events such as the war, police shootings, bullfights, and treatment of criminals (Bloom 7). He had already written two collections of short stories before the publication of his first novels in 1926. Some of his writings also portray his hatred towards minorities such as blacks, homosexuals and women. As a writer, Hemingway understood that he had a duty to represent the society as it was. He did not have any pretence in his writings. He represented the attitude of the society towards the minorities. If the society was violent, he found a way of representing that in his work, whether it was in bullfights or in the war. He was not afraid of writing about death, and he did not write about it in a figurative way. He made the readers understand that death would eventually affect everyone, and they had to find ways of dealing with it. In a way, he opened a way for other writers of fiction to incorporate reality in their work. He showed them the importance of staying relevant in a society that would sometimes choose to evade reality. Hemingway wanted his readers to have the same emotions he had when he was writing. He had to present the details of the events in the manner he thought would elicit the emotions he wanted. Hemingway presents the details in such a detailed and elaborate manner, that the writer feels as if he is part of the story. In the book, “In Our Time”, Hemingway recalls some of the events in the war. He shows how the war disoriented some of the soldiers, to the extent that they did not seem to know what they were doing. He writes how some of the mothers chose to stay with their dead babies, and how some of the people had to break the legs of the animals and drown them because they could not take them when they were evacuated.

Hemingway began writing at an early age. He started experimenting with short stories and poetry while he was young. He had a different style of writing from other modern writers of his time. He worked for the Kansas City Star newspaper, and it was while he was working there, that he began to polish his writing style. When writing for the newspaper, he was expected to follow certain guidelines such as telling interesting stories, using short sentences, starting with short paragraphs, limiting and avoiding adjectives, and avoiding superfluous language (Boon and Loon 12). Hemingway used these principles in his works. His readers like his work because of his simplicity. Hemingway used the iceberg theory when writing. This is seen in the way he omits some of the obvious things when writing. He does not always introduce the subjects, and he avoids repetition. This is clear in the short story, “Hills like White Elephants”. In the story, Hemingway does not explicitly point out that the couple in the story is talking about an abortion. He instead leaves it out for the reader to decide and decipher the meaning of the story. By doing this, he engages the reader, and lets him interpret the meaning of his work.

Hemingway’s works mirror the accounts and experiences of his life. He sometimes uses various characters in his fictional work that portray his life in different ways. For instance, he uses the character of Nick Adams as the protagonist in most of his work. The character is usually a young man, who discovers that the world is full of violence and pain. Hemingway went to the war as a young man, but his experience during that time taught him many lessons in life, which made him more mature. He became more aware about the cruelty and the brutality of the war, especially when he was wounded. He also uses the experiences of his friends and acquaintances in some of his works, although he presents the work as fiction. He has especially used this in the book, “The Sun also Rises”, although he has changed some of the events in the character’s lives to suit his ideal situation.

Hemingway traveled a lot and other then America, he lived in places such as Spain, Cuba, and France. He also traveled to Africa, where he survived two plane crashes. He had different experiences in the places he lived. He lived with the people and shared their experiences and culture. He used the experiences he got from these places when writing his work. For instance, when writing about the bullfights in Spain, he described the events at the Corrida as he saw and felt them. Many artists and writers had failed to achieve this. They had often represented the events based on how they expected to feel, and not on their exact feelings and emotions at the time (Bloom 110). When writing about the bullfights, he chose to mix the experiences he had had watching the bulls, with the art, music and lifestyle of the people in Spain. In the book, “The Sun also Rises”, he wrote about the bullfights, careless living, infidelity, homosexuality, and depression (Boon and Boon 57). He understood the Hispanic culture, and he opened it up to the world through his works. His works are therefore a story of different people and an experience of different cultures.

Many critics are of the opinion that Hemingway did not have a favorable view of the relationships between men and women, in many of his works. In almost all his works, he represented these relationships in a negative way, with many of them being unsuccessful. As has been noted, Hemingway got his inspiration from his life experiences, and his relationship with women was no exception. He was married four times in his life. The relationships in his stories failed most of the times. In almost all the cases, he placed the fault on the woman, who he saw as inadequate and lacking in different ways. In some cases, he represents the woman as dedicated, loyal or strong. He then goes ahead and changes her character as the story develops, and ends up blaming the woman for man’s downfall (Harris). This is clear in works such as “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”. One of the reasons why Hemingway is a great writer is his bravery and courage in writing the truth when other writers fail to do so. He is not concerned with what the readers will think about him after reading his work. He is rather more concerned with telling the story as it is, regardless of the consequences that he faced. He is therefore not afraid to portray some of the men as drunks, foolish, weak, wounded or impotent. Hemingway had lived with many women in his life, and it is possible that he experienced some of the things that he wrote. He did not especially like his mother when he was growing up and he blamed her for his father’s death (Bloom 120). He had different experiences with his wives and admirers. He therefore wrote of all the experiences he had with different women when writing his works. Although this is the case in most of his works, the men in Hemingway stories are often portrayed as weak, or damaged in one way or another. In the story “Indian Camp”, in the short story collection, “In Our Time”, Nick, who is a young boy then, asks his father questions about death when a man kills himself. The father tells the young man that not very many men kill themselves, while hardly any woman commits suicide. Hemingway suggests that women are stronger than men are in this case, since most of them do not see suicide as the way to end their lives.

Hemingway influenced many writers of his day, and he has continued to do over the years. He left a legacy, which many authors desire to achieve. He has challenged many writers to dare to write beyond the norm. One such writer is the Nobel Prize winning author Gabriel Marquez, who wrote “One Hundred Years of Solitude”. Gabriel notes that part of what made Hemingway’s work interesting was the mystery incorporated in his work. This was probably due to his writing style and his way of writing stories (Boon and Boon 116). Hemingway has also influenced other writers in different fields whether they are in journalism or they write works of fiction. Hemingway had many influences in his life and in his works. He was influenced by people in different fields such as writers and artists. This gave him an open mind to ideas, and he was not limited to one perspective. Some of the influences in his life included Mark Twain, Flaubert, the good Kipling, Mozart, Shakespeare and Thoreau among others (Wagner-Martin 23). He admired some of the writers of his day, but he did not imitate their style of writing. He was willing to break the barriers, and once he did this, he managed to go beyond expectations.

Hemingway intends to communicate to the reader in an honest manner, and regardless of the consequences, as can be seen from his works. He does not sugarcoat the details. His work is not intended to please anyone; rather it is intended to represent life as it is. He comes across a male chauvinist, because of the way he represents women as the cause of men’s failure and downfall. However, he also portrays some of the women as strong, loving, dedicated and loyal. Most of his works are inspired by the experiences he has had in life, whether it is during the war, in his marriage, his upbringing or his travels. Thus, although the work is fiction, it also has a sense of reality. He developed a distinct style of writing early on in his work. This style, which is commonly known as the iceberg theory, is intended to engage readers, by provoking them to read beyond the stated meaning. He does not describe all the events, but he chooses to omit the obvious details and avoid repetition. Although he uses short sentences and he writes in a simple way, he tells interesting stories.

Works Cited:

Bloom, Harold. Ernest Hemingway. New York, NY: Infobase Publishing, 2004. Print

Boon, A. Kevin and Boon, A. Kevin. Ernest Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises and Other Works Tarry Town, NY: Marshall Cavendish, 2008. Print

Harris, Jennifer. The Portrayal of Women in Hemingway’s Short Stories. Feb 8 2009. Web. 27 February 27, 2012

Meyers, Jeffrey. Ernest Hemingway: The Critical Heritage. New York, NY: Routledge

Wagner-Martin, Linda. Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises: A Casebook. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print

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