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When one goes through life and witnesses or becomes apart of important events, those lives are changed forever with the experience they had encountered . Such as doing spontaneous things that many would see as ridiculous and dangerous, especially at this time which some considered to be reckless and carefree, Ernest Hemingway had this image which he grew fond of. Hemingway was one of the most well liked authors of his time and is still very popular today in modern times. He wrote many forms of writings such as poetry, short stories, novels, and was even a journalist.
Ernest Hemingway’s insecurities were hidden within his characters which were covered by a fierce and brave image. Hemingway captured the everyday lives of men and women in an era of war and depression through his admiration for adventures and traveling, allowing his characters to live interesting lives.
Ernest Hemingway was affected by the war in which he grew up seeing people injured in battle and dying from the aftermath of the war.
Since living through this time of war, Hemingway found ways to have his own life experiences relatable to his characters. As stated in Critical Insights “In France and Italy, Hemingway witnessed firsthand the horrors of the war as the central powers consistently attacked the allied forces in the area where he was stationed (Palladino 22). This gave an advantage to Hemingway, allowing him to add emotion and create vivid pictures for his audience, which helped bring his characters to life and give more background information on them.
It helps the audience create a clear picture of what is happening in Hemingway’s stories and makes his characters more than just people on a piece of paper. Hemingway wanted to help serve his country, however he couldn’t because he didn’t pass the medical exam, so he joined the Red Cross and became an ambulance driver helping soldiers who were able to fight. While driving the ambulance, Hemingway was wounded by an explosion leaving him and his legs injured (Werlock). During World War I, eighteen year old Ernest Hemingway was making his way around the base. Fortunately, Hemingway lived through this experience but not without a reminder of what had happened. “A Farewell to Open Arms is a love story between Fredrick Henry( a Hemingway surrogate?), a soldier wounded in the war, and Catherine Barkley” (Goodhart 3). Hemingway subtly used his own life experiences as a guide into writing his characters. It is said that when Hemingway was injured in the explosion, he met a nurse named Agnes Von Kurowsky who helped heal him. Kurowsky was the infamous Catherine Barkely. A Farewell to Open Arms was not the only war story about a soldier being injured during battle. The Sun Also Rises, centers around war hero Jake Barnes who was also wounded during battle (“Hemingway at War”). Hemingway used his traumatic events to create characters and love stories.
In addition to Ernest Hemingway’s use of past experiences helped him write stories of war-time romance, his love for adventure and hectic lifestyle influenced his hobbies and desires into his characters. “Hemingway developed a reputation as an artist, wounded soldier, outdoorsman, heavy drinker and womanizer”(Becnel). In the early to mid 1900’s, this type of image was uncommon, which made Hemingway stand out even more than his fellow writers at the time. He enjoyed this reputation and wanted to keep it and even encourage the public eye to see this as the real “Hemingway”. Ernest Hemingway’s novel had a lot of love stories in them he liked to write about the fairytale romance. A quote from Ernest Hemingway novel A Farewell to Arms says “My life used to be full of everything. Now if you aren’t with me I haven’t a thing in the world.” He was a hopeless romantic which made sense because Hemingway was known to having 4 failed marriage, he craved that deep love that was rare to find in a lifetime.
It wasn’t a secret that Hemingway was known to have a unique lifestyle that many wouldn’t see in their lives. Hemingway’s characters had such a tumultuous time in the twentieth- century era but people were more intrigued with Hemingway’s personal life that they wanted to know more and created films on him (Carrigan). It has been said that Hemingway kept most of his life private. His readers wanted to know the fun activities Hemingway encountered that the public didn’t see. Hemingway’s specialty was to leave a piece in him in all his character, the readers wouldn’t know which parts were based on his real life actions or just simple imagination, which kept the audience guessing. “The enthusiasm of his actual life emerged in the fictional lives of his characters… he blended his adventurous and artistic life so that it is difficult to separate the two”( Werlock). This allowed Hemingway to write more freely because he knew first hand what his characters were doing and feeling. He kept it simple though and that was his style not too crazy with detail just enough so the audience knew what was going on. In Ernest Hemingway’s story The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway writes “He keeps saying that he is wasting his life and that he needs to go to South America. Jake responds that only bullfighters live their lives to the fullest.” The character Robert Cohn wanted to live a different life to the fullest and his friend Jake Barnes thought his friend was crazy he thought living life was always facing death perhaps like bullfighters do. Hemingway traveled to spain and also enjoyed bullfighting like the character he wrote Jake Barnes. The connection between Jake Barnes and Hemingway is uncanny and many think that Hemingway was writing about himself in this story.
Writing such stories of adventures and seeming to live a fun life Hemingway suffered with depression and anxiety which later helped him put more emotional effort into the simplicity of his stories. One thing that hemingway is best known for is that his works were simple “The Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway eloquently captures the brokenness of human hopes and desires, as a fisherman struggles mightily against the forces of nature” (Carrigan). Hemingway enjoyed fishing so this could be an allusion to how he was feeling at the time of writing this novel. Later in his writing career he became less enthusiastic to write and started to write more about personal struggles his characters were dealing with.
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