The short stories of Ernest Hemingway : critical ..

In Ernest Hemingway's short story "Hills Like White Elephants," Hemingway uses a plethora of symbols to convey the idea that the young girl, Jig is ambivalent to having an abortion and that her older American boyfriend does not want to have the baby....

* The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway: The Finca Vigia Edition,Scribner, 1987.

Hemingway’s keystone subject was violent death. Plagued by depression and a history of mental illness in his family, Hemingway fought constantly against the insidious slow descent of what he called “the black ass,” which could envelop him in an instant in a fog of despair. The adventuring, the risk taking, the life lived large, was collectively a way of avoiding the dark places that he tried to steer clear of in his life, so that he could explore them with some measure of safety in his art. His writing was a means of connecting with deep, raw emotion; to him, this meant being truthful about what is real—true to what is. The dark call to die, yet the insistence upon continuing, like the offering and withdrawing of emotion in his fiction, is an essential rhythm of Hemingway’s life and art, just as are the silences that sit in his short, declarative sentences—a kind of concession to dread and, ultimately, mortality. It might not be too much to say that he was in some ways a nexus for death, for among the people whom he became close to, or who were part of his family, many were suicides. The psychic terrain that he lived in must therefore have been very hard for him to navigate while still remaining sane.


a The short stories of Ernest Hemingway : |b critical essays ..

* Benson, Jackson J., editor, The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway:Critical Essays, Duke University Press, 1975.

Ernest Hemingway analyses the behavioral patterns of such culture in his short story "Hills Like White Elephants", where the concept of Hedonism- fathomed as an egotistical action whose only purpose is to bestow pleasure- and its consequences on the individual is explored.


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One of the examples of modernism, that breaks the conventions and traditions of literature prior to Modernism, is Ernest Hemingway’s short story “Hills Like White Elephants”.

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I also emphasize Hemingway’s interest in medicine (his father was a physician, and his third son became one) and analyze his complex medical profile. I take into account his family health history, his recurrent vision problems, and the pattern of accidents, injuries, and illnesses that plagued him throughout his life. As John Dos Passos once said, he never knew an athletic, vigorous man who spent as much time in bed as Hemingway did. Hemingway had a complicated medical history that helps explain his emotions and attitudes, his public behavior, his fictional themes and preoccupations, and his ability or inability to write. Medical records among his personal papers show that for much of his life Hemingway took medications that conflicted chemically with one another and eventually produced disastrous results. It is my strong belief that it was this condition, much more than the idea that he was felled by fame or corrupted by the allure of celebrity, that propelled him down the slope into suicide at the end of his life. With his family history of mental illness, it is not surprising that Hemingway was obsessed with suicides, real and imagined. Trying to stare down the dark facts of a difficult world was something that had been part of him since youth.