He was one of American’s foremost writers. He influenced American short story and attracted people by his personal qualities – his honesty and courage above all. He was interested in fishing, hunting, boxing and corrida. Most of his interests reflected his works.
He was born in 1898 in a suburb of Chicago. His father was a doctor and his mother a painter. The father who was a keen sportsman and hunter taught his son to be a man and to love and understand nature. Young Hemingway was a good football player and boxer.
He began his writing career as a sports reporter for the Kansas City Star. When the U.S. entered World War I. in 1917 he served in Italy as an ambulance driver for the American Red Cross. He was badly wounded. Later he applied this experience in his novel A Farewell to Arms. This novel reflects the feelings of so called lost generation. The main characters of the novel are two young people – an American lieutenant Frederic Henry, who serves in Italian ambulance corps and a volunteer nurse from Great Britain Catherine Barkley. Frederic is wounded and Catherine nurses him at hospital. They fall in love with each other. Frederic returns to the front but soon he deserts during the mass retreat, finds Catherine and they escape to Switzerland. They are happy together, but their happiness in the sea of violence and troubles cannot last long. Catherine dies while giving birth to their son and the baby dies soon. Henry is left alone and he feels lost. He accuses the war of breaking down their love and happiness. Henry’s personal tragedy symbolized tragedy of all people in a world of wars. But Henry doesn’t fell lost only because he lost his love. He is afflicted with the war in many ways. Many of those who fought in World War I. lost their ideals, place, belief and they can’t find their place in the world /that’s why they are called “lost generation/.
After the World War I. Hemingway became a journalist. He lived and worked in Paris and traveled a lot. After the first two books of short stories he quitted his job and devoted himself fully to literature. He got to like the Spanish national sport corrida /bull fights/ as a sport of brave men. His first book about bull fights is Death in the Afternoon. He made several trips to Africa where he hunted big game. He depicts his experiences in the book Green Hills of Africa and in some short stories, e.g. The Snows of Kilimanjaro.
During the Spanish Civil War he stayed in Spain and reported on it. Here he found inspiration for his longest novel To Whom the Bell Tolls which appeared in 1940. This novel expresses the idea that a loss of liberty anywhere means the loss of liberty everywhere. The main characters are Robert Jordan, an American, and Maria, a Spanish girl. He found her among a small group of partisans, fell in love with her. The mission of partisans’ /guerrillas/ was to destroy an important bridge. They accomplished the action successfully but Robert was wounded and was not able to walk. The group had to leave for Madrid and Robert didn’t want to give his fellows troubles, so he stayed alone knowing that he would die. He makes his beloved Maria leave him too because he /and Hemingway/ puts love higher than death. /”You are me. As long there is one of us there are both of us”/. One of the most impressive parts of the novel is Jordan’s monologue. “I have fought for what I believed in… If we win here we will win everywhere. The world is a fine place and worth fighting for and I hate very much to leave it. And you had a lot of luck, he told himself, to have had such a good life. You have had as good a life as any one because of these last days… I wish there was some way to pass on what I’ve learned.
The other his work of art: In our time – book of stories, he wrote it in Paris The sun also rises – from Spain, Jake Barnes lives a poor life and he falls in love with an English woman. His injury makes sexual life impossible. To have or not to have – it shows the great economic crisis Across the river and into the trees – it is a love story, the man is seriously ill, loves a young Italian noble woman and he knows he must die in a short time. He dies of a heart attack. The Old man and the sea – it seems to be the most famous of his novels. Santiago, a poor old Cuban fisherman, lives with his friend, a small good boy, Manoline. But they have incredible bad-luck, they can’t catch any fish. Only in September he goes very far on his boat and catches a huge fish. But he has to fight against shark. He returns exhausted to death and he has only a skeleton of the fish, which is longer than his boat. It is a picture of fight between nature and man. It is also poem about the sea. In this book Santiago says:” A man can be destroyed, but not defeated”. I think it is a good idea. Islands in the stream – these are autobiographical memories, it is the last Hemingway’s work.