Argumentative Essay on Ernest Hemingway

This essay has a total of 3902 words and 16 pages.

Ernest Hemingway

Kristy Jobe
October 11, 1998

Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American novelist, journalist, writer of short stories, and
winner of the 1954 Nobel Prize for literature. He created a distinguished body of prose
fiction, much of it based on adventurous life. He was born on July 21, 1899, the second of
six children, in Oak Park, Ill., in a house built by his widowed grandfather, Ernest Hall.
Oak Park was a Protestant, upper middle class suburb of Chicago. He died on July 2, 1961.

Early Years
Hemingway stated in Green Hills of Africa that civil war is the best war for a writer.
Both of his grandfathers fought in the Civil War and the family was proud of its military
traditions. The Hemingway children were brought up on heroic tales of the Civil War.
Ernest was also fascinated by the wars and heroes at the turn of the century: the
Spanish-American War (1898);, the Goer War (1899-1902); and the Russo-Japanese War
(1904-05), which inspired him to collect military cartoons. Ernest loved to read the Old
Testament when he was a boy because it was so full of battles. (Meyers 3)

Ernest Hemingway's maternal grandfather was Ernest Hall, who was injured in the Civil War.
He tried to shoot himself when he was near death, but Hemingway's father had removed the
bullets from his gun. Ernest was six years old at the time, and thought his father
shouldn't have prevented his grandfather from committing suicide.

His paternal grandfather was Anson Hemingway. He was a formal, serious, and deeply
religious man who was active in the temperance movement. He established a prosperous
real-estate business. Both families were prosperous.

Hemingway's parents were Clarence Edmonds "Ed" Hemingway and Grace Hall. They had a fairly
happy marriage although they were very different. Grace was the dominant one in the

Hemingway was an active, imaginative, and fearless youngster. He said at an early age that
he wasn't afraid of anything. He was aggressive, self-confident, and had a tendency to
exaggerate. His mother said that he delighted in shooting imaginary wolves, bears, lions,
buffalo, etc., and liked to pretend he was a "soldser". She also said he threw temper
tantrums if he didn't get his way. (Meyers 9)

Hemingway's mother, Grace was an accomplished singer and at one time wanted a career on
stage. She settled for being a wife and mother and taught private piano lessons in her
home. His father, "Ed", was a doctor who pursued science. His father was a strict
disciplinarian while Grace was more permissive. She saw that her children had music
lessons and were exposed to the arts. Ernest never had a knack for music and suffered
through choir practices and cello lessons.

The gift of the doctor to his children was a knowledge and love of nature. He taught
Ernest how to build fires and cook in the open, how to use and ax to build a shelter, how
to make fishing flies, how to make bullets, and how to handle fishing gear and guns. He
also taught them how to prepare small animals for mounting and how to dress and cook game.

Ernest inherited the temperament and artistic talent of mother and the looks and sporting
skills of his father. Both parents, when he was a boy, were foes of dirt and disorder.
They brought up their children to follow strict schedules, stand inspection and be
scrupulously neat and tidy.

Ernest went to high school in Oak Park where he enjoyed writing for the school's literary
magazine, reporting for the school's weekly newspaper called The Trapeze. He was mediocre
at sports, playing football, swimming, water basketball and serving as the track team

Upon graduation in 1917, he was faced with three choices: college, war, or work. His
father wanted him to go to college and be a doctor, but he rejected that; he was not in
any hurry to go to war, and a job with the Kansas City Star wouldn't open until October,
so he spent the summer on the farm in Michigan. In October, he took the job as a cub
reporter for the Kansas City Star and got seven educational months with them.

As a boy his father taught him to hunt and fish along the shores and in the forests
surrounding Lake Michigan. The Hemingway's had a summer house called Windemere on Horton
Bay at the northern end of Lake Michigan and the family would spend the summer months
their trying to stay cool. Hemingway would fish the different streams that ran into the
lake, or would take the row boat out on the bay and do some fishing there. He would also
go squirrel hunting in the woods near the summer house, discovering early the serenity to
be found while alone in the forest or on a stream. It was something he could always go
back to throughout his life, wherever he was. Nature would be the touchstone of
Hemingway's life and work, and though he often found himself living in major cities like
Chicago, Toronto and Paris early in his career, once he became successful he chose
somewhat isolated places to live like Key West, or San Francisco de Paula, Cuba, a small
village outside of Havana, or after Cuba fell to Castro, Ketchurn, Idaho. All were
convenient locales for hunting and fishing.

When young Hemingway was in school in the winter in Oak Park, he dreamed of summer to
come. For fourteen years his earthly paradise was Wallon Lake near Petoskey, Michigan,
where his family spent its summers. Here he enjoyed playing, fishing, hunting, picking
berries, etc.

At the time of Hemingway's graduation from High School, World War I was raging in Europe
and despite Woodrow Wilson's attempts to keep America out of the war, the United States
joined the Allies in the fight against Germany and Austria in April, 1917. When Hemingway
turned eighteen he tried to enlist in the army, but was deferred because of poor vision;
he had a bad left eye that he probably inherited from his mother who also had poor vision.
When he heard the Red Cross was taking volunteers as ambulance drivers he quickly signed
up. He was accepted in December of 1917, left his job at the paper in April of 1918, and
sailed for Europe in May. In the short time that Hemingway worked for the Kansas City Star
he learned some stylistic lessons that would later influence his fiction. The newspaper
advocated short sentences, short paragraphs, active verbs, authenticity, compression,
clarity and immediacy. Hemingway later said: "Those were the best rules I ever learned for
the business of writing. I've never forgotten them."

Hemingway, upon reaching Europe, first went to Paris, then in early June, after receiving
his orders, traveled to Milan, Italy. The day he arrived, a munitions factory exploded and
he had to carry mutilated bodies and body parts to a makeshift was an
immediate and powerful initiation into the horrors of war. Two days later he was sent to
an ambulance unit at a the town of Sohio, where he worked driving ambulances. On July 8,
1918, only a few weeks after arriving, Hemingway was seriously wounded by fragments from
an Austrian mortar shell which landed just a few feet away. At the time Hemingway, was
distributing chocolate to Italian soldiers in the trenches near the front lines. The
explosion knocked Hemingway unconscious while killing one Italian soldier and blowing the
legs off another. What happened next has been debated for some time. In a letter to
Hemingway's father, Ted Brumback, one of Emest's fellow ambulance drivers, wrote that
despite over 200 pieces of shrapnel being lodged in Hemingway's legs, he still managed to
carry another wounded soldier back to the first aid station, along the way being hit in
his legs by several machine gun bullets. Whether he carried the wounded soldier or not,
doesn't diminish Hemingway's sacrifice. He was awarded the Italian Silver Medal for Valor
with the official Italian citation reading: "Gravely wounded by numerous pieces of
shrapnel from an enemy shell, with an admirable spirit of brotherhood, before taking care
of himself, he rendered generous assistance to the Italian soldiers more seriously wounded
by the same explosion and did not allow himself to be carried elsewhere until after they
had been evacuated." Hemingway described his injuries to a friend of his: "There was one
of those big noises you sometimes hear at the front. I died then. I felt my soul or
something coming right out of my body, like you'd pull a silk handkerchief out of a pocket
by one comer. It flew all around and then came back and went in again and I wasn't dead
any more." (AOL 2)

His Loves
Apparently, Ernest was attractive to women, and he wasn't satisfied with just one woman.
His first love was an American nurse, Agnes von Kurowsky, whom he met while convalescing
from his war wounds in Milano, Italy. She was a tall and dark-haired girl who had been
reared in Washington, D.C. She was kind, generous, and bright, fond of people, and full of
bubbling energy. All the young men in the hospital wanted to get well quickly so that they
could have a date with Agnes, Ernest included. Ernest was soon "wildly" in love with
Agnes. Agnes refused to permit the affair to progress beyond the kissing stage. She wasn't
ready to marry and settle down.

Young Ernest returned to the United States in January to a heroes welcome. He continued to
write to Agnes whom he missed very much. In March, he received a letter from her telling
him that she had fallen in love with someone else. Ernest was so upset that he got sick
and had to go to bed.

In the fall of 1920, Hemingway became the contributing editor of a trade journal in
Chicago. Here he met Elizabeth Hadley Richardson who was twenty-eight, a tall girl with
auburn hair. She had lost her father by suicide. She was a little tongue-tied in his
presence, but she thought to herself that he liked her for three reasons: Her hair was
red, her skirt was a good length, and she played nicely on Doodles's piano. When she went
home to St. Louis, they began to exchange letters every week. (Baker 76)

Ernest went to see her in March . They discussed money , and as she had a small trust
fund, she sent him money. When he went again to St. Louis for the Memorial Day weekend,
wedding plans were settled. They got married on Sept.3, 1921. To this union there was born
one son, John Hadley Nicanor "Bumby" Hemingway, on October 10, 1923.

In 1925, while living in Paris, France, Ernest met Pauline Pfeiffer, the daughter of a
landowning squire Piggott, Arkansas. She was small with slender limbs like delicate little
birds and had bobbed hair. She worked for the Paris edition of Vogue magazine. At first,
Pauline didn't like Ernest, but later became friends of both Ernest and Hadley. She became
very attracted to Ernest. In 1926, she moved in with the Heminways who were quarantined
because of whooping cough.

Ernest later wrote:
"an unmarried young woman becomes the temporary best friend of another young woman who is
married, goes to live with the husband and wife and then unknowingly, innocently and
unrelentingly sets out to marry the husband. When the husband is a writer and doing
difficult work so that he is occupied much of the time and is not a good companion or
partner to his wife for a big part of the day, the arrangement has advantages until you
know how it works out. The husband has two attractive girls around when he has finished
work. One is new and strange and if he has bad luck he gets to love them both. Then,
instead of the two of them and their child, there are three of them. First it is
stimulating and fun and it goes on that way for a while. All things truly wicked start
from innocence. So you live day by day and enjoy what you have and do not worry. You lie
and hate it and it destroys you and every day is more dangerous, but you live day to day
as in a war." (Baker 163)

In 1927, Ernest and Hadley were divorced and Ernest married Pauline. They left Paris and
moved to Key West, Florida. To this union there were born two sons, Patrick and Gregory.

In December, 1936, Ernest met Martha Gellhorn in Sloppy Joe's place in Key West. She was a
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