Hernest Hemingway

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Ernest Hemingway
He was born in Illinois in 1899. He was the son of a doctor, who committed a suicide, and he spent his childhood hunting and fishing in the Great Lake region. He worked as a reporter for the “Kansas city star”. When America entered in World War I Ernest went to the Italian front and he became an ambulance driver, for this he received a silver medal and decoration from the Italian government. When he came back to the United States he got a job as a foreign correspondent and he settled in Paris where he joined the group of expatriate writers, “the lost generation”, influenced by Ezra Pound. In 1924 he published a book of short stories, “In our time”, in which we can find experiences of his childhood and there is his alter-ego, Nick Adams. In 1929 he published “Farewell to arms”, the best American novel about the World War I and where there are some autobiographical events. About the experience of African hunting safari he wrote many stories, like the “Snow of Kilimanjaro” and “The Green hills of Africa”. For his job he went to Spain during the Spanish civil war and about this experience he wrote “For whom the bell tolls”. For “the old man and the sea” he won in 1953 the Pulitzer Prize and the following year he received the Nobel Prize for literature. Then he suffered for mental diseases which led him to committee suicide in 1961.

Nature for Hemingway and Kerouac
For Hemingway the man has to fight against nature, he can’t overcome it but he can see his limits, instead for Kerouac nature is a place far from the chaotic modern cities and where we can find freedom.

Hemingway’s hero
There are two kinds of hero in Hemingway:
• One is the outdoorsman, he isn’t primitive but sensitive and he does the best he can do under stress.
• The other one is the “code-hero”, so called because he can live beyond the reach of ordinary human beings. He is honourable, he cannot overcome the forces he confronts but he faces them with dignity and for this he gives an example to how to behave.

In his books we can find some autobiographical elements, but they aren’t written in a direct way and he gave to them an universal value. His style is characterised by essentiality and a simple syntax, colloquial dialogue and brief descriptions, especially about landscapes. There isn’t introspection and he reviled his characters trough dialogues and brief descriptions.

A fascination with death
Hemingway was fascinated by death and suicide, in fact, a lot of his novels end with death. Other ones have a macabre approach to the subject. From the 1920s he started to suffer from attacks of depression for the death of his father and he thought that the causes of his father’s suicide were the loss of money and his relationships with women. The experience of the Italian front during the World War I was traumatic for him and he tested his courage going to the bullrings, hunting and facing enemy fire. With this test he suffered for the blows to the head and limbs caused by the enemy fire.

A Farewell to Arms
This novel speaks about an ambulance driver, Lieutenant Henry Frederick, on the Italian front during the World War I. He falls in love with an English nurse, Catherine, and after this meeting and the experience on the Italian front he changes his ideas about the war. When he joins militia he thinks that the war establishes freedom and a sort of order but then when he sees the suffering caused by the war he changes his ideas and he prefer to escape and look for Catherine. She is pregnant and when she goes to Switzerland she dies in the hospital with her baby.
Hemingway uses the first person narrator, it is Henry who tells the story, that creates a realistic atmosphere. The language is simple (language of sense impressions) but the reader has to pay attention because the meaning of the story is reviled through suggestions, omissions and frequent use of free direct speech.
War and love
The novel offers vivid descriptions of the war and its brutality and the scene of the Italian retreat is very important in American literature. He shows how the soldiers change during the war and how their nerves and minds break. There is also a deep meditation on the nature of love, in this Catherine and Henry find a temporary happiness. Henry understands that his love for her overcomes his abstract ideals in fact he flees the war to look for her. The tragedy and moral is that love is only temporary and the notions of loyalty and abandonment can be apply equally to war and love.
There is nothing worse then war
• Henry is a code-hero
• There are many descriptions but not introspections
• No idea of setting place because they speak about their opinion of the war
• Artificial lights are symbols and they are important to show the horrors of war and to give him the possibility to describe.
Viva la pace!
This extract speaks about the retreat in which Henry participates and where he changes his ideas about the war and he says (on lines 14 and 43) that he wants to go home.
The Snows of Kilimanjaro
This novel speaks about a man, Harry, who is a failure as a writer and as a man because he spent all of his life with people who he didn’t like and with a wife he didn’t love. He goes to a safari in Africa but then he dies because he suffer for gangrene. There are a lot of symbol of death: the top of Kilimanjaro, where there is a carcass of leopard which is the symbol of the protagonist; the hyenas and the vultures, which are waiting to eat died animals. In this novel there is a little introspection about Henry’s previous life and how he is a failure as a writer because he met rich people and he could speak about them, like a spy, but he didn’t do. He uses a colloquial and essential language and a cinematic technique, like he uses a camera to describe, with which creates a mysterious atmosphere.
The writer’s existence
In this novel there are many autobiographical elements, in fact Henry is like the writer and his ideas about “politics, women, drink, money and ambition” which Henry speaks about are the ideas of Ernest who says that these damage the American writers.
• Safari: symbol of the rebirth as a man and as a writer
• First there is Harry’s point of view, then the dream of Harry and in the end Helen’s point of view.
• Harry is fat because this aspect represents the negative things in his soul.

Ha scritto il “Vecchio e il mare” perchè voleva scrivere una storia bella come le sue prime dopo anni che non scriveva. Ma molti critici lo hanno accusato di aver scritto una storia con un eroe inventato secondo i gusti del pubblico. I suoi personaggi hanno alcuni tratti in comune con la narrativa degli anni ’50, ma anche notevoli differenze come il fatto che la vittoria del pescatore sul pesce è solo effimera, poiché non riesce a riportare il pesce a riva. Tuttavia questa vittoria riesce a ristabilire la posizione del pescatore all’interno della comunità e a diventare un insegnante per Monolito. E’ stato accusato di falsità e di un lavoro artificioso a causa sia dei numerosi simboli che vi si trovano e sia dalle numerose correzioni applicate, testimoniate dai suoi manoscritti. Ad esempio gli squali potrebbero simboleggiare i critici, mentre il vecchio sarebbe Hemingway che come il protagonista è dedito alla pesca oltre che alla caccia. Questo libro viene considerato una metafora e allegoria della sua vita, dove il riscatto viene solamente quando ormai è vecchio e prossimo alla morte, ma a questa visione simbolica della sua storia lui risponde che se c’è non è stata voluta intenzionalmente. Lui ha voluto scrivere una storia realistica utilizzando la “teoria dell’iceberg”, come di un iceberg noi ne vediamo solo la parte più piccola mentre la parte maggiore sta sotto l’acqua, così lui ha scritto limitandosi ad una descrizione reale ma poi ognuno può vedere sotto di essa molteplici simboli. Al contrario delle altre sue storie in questa il protagonista non muore o perde ma vince, anche se si tratta di una vittoria effimera, che consiste in un passaggio da una vita vecchia ad una nuova, una sorta di rinascita. La forza del vecchio consiste nella sua conoscenza. Essere “salao”, salato, è la peggior sfortuna e consiste nell’essere morto in vita (metafora del sale che conserva) ed è questa la condizione del vecchio, altro simbolo è il cibo salato che egli mangia che lo contraddistingue dagli animali. Nella novella sono presenti tre eroi: Joe Dimaggio, che rappresenta la civiltà; il Marlin, che rappresenta la natura; e il vecchio, che si pone come da mediatore tra i due seguendo entrambi. Gli eroi si distinguono per la loro resistenza e dignità nell’affrontare le difficoltà della vita. Questa storia si articola in quattro livelli di lettura. Ad un primo livello è una storia di caccia, ma in realtà questa lotta contro il pesce, che rappresenta la natura, è la lotta necessaria ad ogni uomo per conoscere i suoi limiti. Nonostante la sua vittoria sul pesce lui ha pietà di lui, il suo nutrimento non è solo fisico ma anche spirituale per questo viene perdonato per la sua uccisione.



  1. lucia

    viva la pace hemingway