This essay has a total of 2772 words and 14 pages.
Ernest Miller Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899, in Oak
Park, Illinois. His father was the owner of a prosperous real
estate business. His father, Dr. Hemingway, imparted to Ernest the
importance of appearances, especially in public. Dr. Hemingway
invented surgical forceps for which he would not accept money. He
believed that one should not profit from something important for
the good of mankind. Ernest's father, a man of high ideals, was
very strict and censored the books he allowed his children to read.
He forbad Ernest's sister from studying ballet for it was
coeducational, and dancing together led to "hell and damnation".
Grace Hall Hemingway, Ernest's mother, considered herself pure
and proper. She was a dreamer who was upset at anything which
disturbed her perception of the world as beautiful. She hated
dirty diapers, upset stomachs, and cleaning house; they were not
fit for a lady. She taught her children to always act with
decorum. She adored the singing of the birds and the smell of
flowers. Her children were expected to behave properly and to
please her, always.
Mrs. Hemingway treated Ernest, when he was a small boy, as if
he were a female baby doll and she dressed him accordingly. This
arrangement was alright until Ernest got to the age when he wanted
to be a "gun-toting Pawnee Bill". He began, at that time, to pull
away from his mother, and never forgave her for his humiliation.
The town of Oak Park, where Ernest grew up, was very old
fashioned and quite religious. The townspeople forbad the word
"virgin" from appearing in school books, and the word "breast" was
questioned, though it appeared in the Bible.
Ernest loved to fish, canoe and explore the woods. When he
couldn't get outside, he escaped to his room and read books. He
loved to tell stories to his classmates, often insisting that a
friend listen to one of his stories. In spite of his mother's
desire, he played on the football team at Oak Park High School.
As a student, Ernest was a perfectionist about his grammar and
studied English with a fervor. He contributed articles to the
weekly school newspaper. It seems that the principal did not
approve of Ernest's writings and he complained, often, about the
content of Ernest's articles.
Ernest was clear about his writing; he wanted people to "see
and feel" and he wanted to enjoy himself while writing. Ernest
loved having fun. If nothing was happening, mischievous Ernest
made something happen. He would sometimes use forbidden words just
to create a ruckus. Ernest, though wild and crazy, was a warm,
caring individual. He loved the sea, mountains and the stars and
hated anyone who he saw as a phoney.
During World War I, Ernest, rejected from service because of a
bad left eye, was an ambulance driver, in Italy, for the Red
Cross. Very much like the hero of A Farewell to Arms, Ernest is
shot in his knee and recuperates in a hospital, tended by a caring
nurse named Agnes. Like Frederick Henry, in the book, he fell in
love with the nurse and was given a medal for his heroism.
Ernest returned home after the war, rejected by the nurse with
whom he fell in love. He would party late into the night and
invite, to his house, people his parents disapproved of. Ernest's
mother rejected him and he felt that he had to move from home.
He moved in with a friend living in Chicago and he wrote
articles for The Toronto Star. In Chicago he met and then married
Hadley Richardson. She believed that he should spend all his time
in writing, and bought him a typewriter for his birthday. They
decided that the best place for a writer to live was Paris, where
he could devote himself to his writing. He said, at the time, that
the most difficult thing to write about was being a man. They
could not live on income from his stories and so Ernest, again,
wrote for The Toronto Star.
Ernest took Hadley to Italy to show her where he had been
during the war. He was devastated, everything had changed,
everything was destroyed.
Hadley became pregnant and was sick all the time. She and
Ernest decided to move to Canada. He had, by then written three
stories and ten poems. Hadley gave birth to a boy who they named
John Hadley Nicano Hemingway. Even though he had his family Ernest
was unhappy and decided to return to Paris. It was in Paris that
Ernest got word that a publisher wanted to print his book, In Our
Time, but with some changes. The publisher felt that the sex was
to blatant, but Ernest refused to change one word.
Around 1925, Ernest started writing a novel about a young man
in World War I, but had to stop after a few pages, and proceeded to
write another novel, instead. This novel was based on his
experiences while living in Pamplona, Spain. He planned on
calling this book Fiesta, but changed the name to The Sun Also
Rises, a saying from the Bible. This book, as in his other books,
shows Hemingway obsessed with death.
In 1927, Ernest found himself unhappy with his wife and son.
They decided to divorce and he married Pauline, a woman he had been
involved with while he was married to Hadley. A year later, Ernest
was able to complete his war novel which he called A Farewell to
Arms. The novel was about the pain of war, of finding love in this
time of pain. It portrayed the battles, the retreats, the fears,
the gore and the terrible waste of war.
This novel was well-received by his publisher, Max Perkins,but
Ernest had to substitute dashes for the "dirty" language. Ernest
used his life when he wrote; using everything he did and everything
that ever happened to him. He nevertheless remained a private
person; wanting his stories to be read but wanting to be left
alone. He once said, "Don't look at me. Look at my words." A
common theme throughout Hemingway's stories is that no matter how
hard we fight to live, we end up defeated, but we are here and we
must go on.
At age 31 he wrote Death in the Afternoon, about bullfighting
in his beloved Spain. Ernest was a restless man; he traveled all
over the United States, Europe, Cuba and Africa. At the age of 37
Ernest met the woman who would be his third wife; Martha Gellhorn,
a writer like himself. He went to Spain, he said, to become an
"antiwar correspondent", and found that war was like a club where
everyone was playing the same game, and he was never lonely.
Martha went to Spain as a war correspondent and they lived
together. He knew that he was hurting Pauline, but like his need
to travel and have new experiences, he could not stop himself from
getting involved with women.
In 1940 he wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls and dedicated it to
Martha, whom he married at the end of that year. He found
himself traveling between Havana, Cuba and Ketchum, Idaho, which he
did for the rest of his life. During World War II, Ernest became a
secret agent for the United States. He suggested that he use his
boat, the "Pillar", to surprise German submarines and attack them
with hidden machine guns. It was at this time that Ernest, always
a drinker, started drinking most of his days away. He would host
wild, fancy parties and did not write at all during the next three
At war's end, Ernest went to England and met an American
foreign correspondent named Mary Welsh. He divorced Martha and
married Mary in Havana, in 1946. Ernest was a man of extremes;
living either in luxury or happy to do without material things.
Ernest, always haunted by memories of his mother, would not go to
her funeral when she died in 1951. He admitted that he hated his
Ernest wrote The Old Man and the Sea in only two months. He
was on top of the world, the book was printed by Life Magazine and
thousands of copies were sold in the United States. This novel and
A Farewell to Arms were both made into movies.
In 1953 he went on a safari with Mary, and he was in heaven
hunting big game. Though Ernest had a serious accident, and later
became ill, he could never admit that he had any weaknesses;
nothing would stop him, certainly not pain. In 1954 he won the
Nobel Prize for Literature. Toward the end, Ernest started to
travel again, but almost the way that someone does who knows that
he will soon die. He suddenly started becoming paranoid and to
forget things. He became obsessed with sin; his upbringing was
showing, but still was inconsistent in his behavior. He never got
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