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KMID : 0615219870120010225
Journal of Kwangju Health
1987 Volume.12 No. 1 p.225 ~ p.246
A Study on a View of Hemingway´s Life and Death -In His Master Pieces
조권수/Cho KS
Abstract
Since his death with a self-inflicted gunshot wound Ernest Hemingway has been an even more controversial figure than before. An athletic and versatile young man, he tried to enlist in 1917 but was refused. He became a newspaper reporter and then went to Italy as an ambulance driver. He was badly wounded, but returned to serve a short time in the Italian infantry.
This was only one of many close meetings with death during his life. It is not strange that he wrote much about death, violence, war, hospitals, and wounded heroes.
In Hemingway, to show what a human being is, what a human being is capable of, and for that reason, to prove something worthy to live for was his primary concerns through his life. And his favorite theme was about death.
He tried to define and maintain his ideas about the meaning of human existence, however limited and imperfect they might be, in all his books and the characters of all his heroes are peculiarly human story, that is, death.
So I´ve tried to understand Hemingway´s ideas about death through his main novels: A Farewell to Arms, The Snows of Killimanjaro, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Old Man and the Sea, and so on.
In A Farewell to Arms, on the death of Catherine, Henry did just leave the hospital and walked back to the hotel in the rain. Catherine dies in childbirth. The novel is a romantic tragedy, planned almost like a play in five acts, and it again shows Hemingway´s obsession with violence, sex, and death. Here he shows increasing use of death, and natural acenery.
In The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Harry died with hope, which he couldn´t realize in his life.
In his tragic process, he achieved the moral triumph and his failure could achieve victory through his death.
In The Old Man and The Sea, the writer tells as a powerful and tragic story of anaging fisherman´s lonely and heroic struggle to catch agiant fish far out at sea. We can also read as an allegory of man´s struggle with life or the artist´s struggle with his art. The style is simple, dignified, and poetic.
No one who reads this story intelligently could think of Hemingway as a nihilist. In it he emphasizes many of the ideas, ideals, and attitude be has shown in all of his books : his insistence on honesty, the search for truth, courage, humility, endurance.
In For Whom the Bell Tolls, Robert Jordan falls in love with Maria and they enjoy a few hours of bliss before he is killed. Robert Jordan believed in liberty, impossible: under Fasscism. He did not belive in working for a planned society, but he accepted Communist discipline as necessary for the war.
In conclusion I can see that Hemingway emphasizes that death is fatal to man. That is, death and life are the same aspect of the great nature and process of it.
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