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Ernest Hemingway. Life. Hemingway was born in 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois. He started working as a reporter at the age of 17. He joined the WWI effort, spending many years in Europe as part of an ambulance team.

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Ernest Hemingway

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  • Hemingway was born in 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois.
  • He started working as a reporter at the age of 17.
  • He joined the WWI effort, spending many years in Europe as part of an ambulance team.
  • Upon his return, he started working for the papers again, but was sent back to Europe many times.
  • During the 1920’s, Hemingway became part of the expatriate movement and stayed in France (during which time he wrote The Sun Also Rises).
  • Hemingway also spent a great deal of time near the Spanish Civil War gaining the content for For Whom the Bell Tolls.
  • Hemingway loved the outdoors and athletics.
  • He often chose subject such as war, hunting, bull-fighting, sailing, etc. in order to show the contrast between primitive, courageous people and the brutality of the modern world.
  • Hemingway lived in many places in the US, Canada, and overseas.
  • He had lived in Chicago, Toronto, Cuba, Key West, Michigan, and Idaho.
  • Hemingway lived permanently in Florida, but spent many of his summers, both in childhood and adulthood, in Michigan.
  • In fact, many of his short stories are either set in Michigan, or even have Michigan in their title.
  • Hemingway struggled with depression and alcoholism for most of his adult life. He was even subjected to shock therapy for his depression and mental illness.
  • In was found early in 1961 that Hemingway was diagnosed with hemochromatosis, a disease which affects the bodies metabolism and ability to process certain minerals.

It is thought that this disease may have contributed to his mental decline.

  • In 1961, though the reports called it an “accident,” Hemingway shot himself in the head with his favorite 12-guage shotgun.
  • His father, brother, and sister also committed suicide.
  • Hemingway wrote ten novels, had published ten collections of short stories, and published many other works of non-fiction.
  • His style is described as such: “His straightforward prose, his spare dialogue, and his predilection for understatement are particularly effective in his short stories.”
  • Hemingway often writes in an objective narrative style, perhaps due to his journalistic background.
  • Hemingway’s work is sometimes dark and brooding, with elements of existentialist truths.

He often writes about “the athlete,” women, death, courage, emancipation, emasculation, and nature.

  • Many critics find Hemingway homophobic and misogynistic.
  • Hemingway could most likely be considered a “Modernist” writer.
  • The Modernist time period took place from somewhere around 1920 and ended sometime in the 1960’s.
  • It was a refutation of the Victorian ideals of nature and dwelled more on the individual, decay, and alienation.
  • Form also became experimental.
  • See handout on “Modernism”