Ernest Hemingway: A Troubled Man And Enduring Legend
Start writing a post
Entertainment

Ernest Hemingway: A Troubled Man And Enduring Legend

552
Ernest Hemingway: A Troubled Man And Enduring Legend
Wikimedia Commons

Ernest Hemingway’s birthday just passed, on July 21st. Whether you’ve read his works for your own joy or grudgingly as an assignment, or whether you have never turned a page of his, Hemingway is easily one of the most important writers in American history, if not throughout the world. I once read that the ghost of Hemingway hangs over every man that writes. Now, there are certainly female admirers of Hemingway, and men who don't care for his writing. This statement is clearly an exaggeration. But there's no denying that Hemingway holds significance when considering the concept of "manliness". For those men who have read and loved Hemingway, and especially those who have become enamored with his myth, there have been wilder claims. Hemingway is in many ways a legendary archetype of masculinity, both in his deeds and in the writing he put forth. He was a symbol of courage and unashamed manliness in the most classical sense. Everything he did, drinking, fighting, loving, he did with zeal and nerves of steel, so the legend would tell you. Read any sort of biography of Hemingway and you’ll be regaled with stories of immense courage, occasional stupidity, and plenty of alcohol. And then there is the writing. Hemingway is known for his powerfully simple language and stoic, declarative style. Hemingway style epitomized the idea of saying a lot with only a little, and so incredible is his writing that it is essentially impossible to emulate. The simplicity that defines Hemingway’s writing comes from a complex genius that few people possess.

So Hemingway was the typical man’s man and one hell of a writer, but of course there’s more to the story, because Hemingway was a man, not a legend. He was real. For a kid from Oak Park, Illinois, I am reminded of that often. Hemingway was born and grew up here, and the town has no intention of letting you forget. There’s the big sign in front of Hemingway’s birth home, there’s the Hemingway District in town, there’s the Hemingway Museum, the Hemingway Bistro, and even the Hemingway Room in the local high school. The legend of Hemingway is deeply entrenched in Oak Park because, after all, this town can claim to be the home of America’s most famous writer. But you’re reminded of the man that Hemingway was if you live here too. Hemingway was attached to Oak Park; it was his home, but as his relationship with his family deteriorated, so did his relationship with his hometown. When people think of Hemingway, they think of Paris, of Spain, of Cuba, not this suburb bordering the West Side of Chicago. You think about his legendary feats and persona, and not the man, not Ernest.

Hemingway was a complicated person, as most people are. His hard drinking could simply be called alcoholism, his many lovers the actions of a womanizer and serial cheater. Hemingway was certainly running from demons. And yet, whether it was in the thrill of a bullfight, the bottom of a glass, or the arms of a woman, he could not escape them. The legend of Hemingway continues to collapse as one learns about his troubled mental state. He received electroshock therapy and attempted suicide many times. In the end, he succeeded. On July 2, 1961, Ernest Hemingway shot himself. It was the way his father went, and the way many of his family members would go. The legend was shattered. Papa turned out to be more troubled than most men, more fragile. This towering figure of masculinity died in a dark, sad way. No glory could save him.

All of this is to say that the ghost of Hemingway isn’t only about the writing; it’s about being a man in general. In an age where ideas about sex and gender are being perpetually reevaluated, Hemingway is both an anachronism and an ideal. The masculine aura of his legend is both an antiquated idea of what it means to be a man and one of the most basic. My favorite picture of Hemingway encapsulates this duality perfectly. I’m not sure where it was taken or when, but it was clearly late in Hemingway’s life; he sports a mustache of grey, with little hair on the top of his head. His face is lined with wrinkles. In this picture, he is shirtless, clutching a shotgun in his hands, and staring at the camera. This may be the shotgun he turned upon himself, I don’t know. In this picture there is Hemingway, the legend, this man who wrote of warriors and lovers with such beauty and restraint, who fought bulls and speared fish and inspired generations to live a life of adventure. And there is Ernest, the man. You can see it in that picture, the demons quickly approaching him. The more you know about the man that was, and the legend that wasn’t, the sadder the picture seems. You see the destruction all the old ideas of manhood wrought on a single person. Hemingway’s genius as a writer long outlived him, and the lessons we can learn from his life are still to be realized. Whether you want to look at Hemingway and see a man who took life by the throat or one who had life chase him down until it finally caught him, you would only be wrong if you didn’t choose both.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Swoon

23 Pandemic-Approved Date Ideas That'll Send Sparks Flying From Six Feet Apart

There's a safe way to date right now and yes, it includes masks.

164744

While some people would rather opt out of dating altogether during the pandemic so they don't have to wear a mask on a first date, others are choosing to listen to both guidelines and their heart in order to find love during the time of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Should you be one of the individuals welcoming romance right now, there are pandemic-approved dates you can go on that still adhere to guidelines (and yes, you'll have to wear a mask).

Keep Reading... Show less

I didn't believe the notification when it came through to my phone: Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died from complications due to cancer.

Keep Reading... Show less

In our patriarchal society, men hide from their feelings, but toxic masculinity is literally killing men. They swallow the pain and move on so that they can look, feel, and act "tough."

But, strength is derived from asking for help and voicing your struggle and, trust me, working on your mental health is one hell of a struggle. The real way to "man up" is to acknowledge the downfalls in unjust societal norms. Mental health problems do not mean that a man is weak, they are neurologically-based disorders that require professional treatment.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

11 Things Your Boyfriend Should Do Before He Drops $499 On A PS5

Let's start with spending less time gaming and more time with you.

11736

Scrolling through Twitter this week had me rolling on the floor laughing as I read some of the hilarious tweets from ladies who, whether in a relationship or not, shared reactions to the news that PlayStation 5 is on its way

As this "buy your boyfriend a PS5" joke takes off across the internet, let's just say, there are a few things your BF should be doing before dropping $499 on the new gaming system — or, if the tweets are real for some, before you buy it for him as a gift.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

Sorry, But 'I Don’t Care About Politics' Is Not A Valid Excuse For NOT Voting

The younger generation of voters is so crucial to the upcoming election because our vote is going to shape the world that we are about to enter as adults.

34382

When I ask my friends if they are voting this term most of them respond with "no" followed by an explanation of "I don't care enough," "It doesn't affect me," or "I don't keep up with politics," etc. I get it, as a college student I know that there are many other things to be concerned about like school, relationships, work, and friends. I also understand that keeping up with politics can seem like trying to keep up with an over-exaggerated reality show that has way too many seasons. Not to mention most news stations and websites are biased so it's hard to decipher if what you hear is true or fake.

However, despite all of this annoyance, as the next generation of Americans, we have to remember that we owe it to ourselves, our families, and to our futures to care.

Keep Reading... Show less
Tasia Sli

Tasia Sli and Anna Yang met in quintessential New York fashion at a chic rooftop event, inquisitive Yale grad Anna gravitating towards model/entrepreneur Tasia.

Keep Reading... Show less
Photo by Anna Hernández-Buces

"Do you have big parties on Cinco de Mayo?"

Keep Reading... Show less

Two of my favorite things in life are reading and books. Obviously, they go hand-in-hand. In my life, I've realized that there is nothing better than learning about the current world or getting fully immersed in another world. Reading can inspire, teach, and entertain you.

For me, the feeling of opening a book and smelling that fresh book smell can't compete with anything else.

Keep Reading... Show less

Expecting mother and wife to singer/songwriter John Legend may have accidentally slipped up and revealed the gender of her and Legend's third baby today on her Instagram story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

20 Books About Latin And Hispanic Heritage Absolutely Everyone Should Have On Their Bookshelf

Any ally of the community needs to be reading these incredible reads.

10211

I go through phases when it comes to what I like to read. I am typically reading two books at any given time: one serious nonfiction and one escapist fiction novel to have on hand and open up depending on my mood.

What remains consistent, however, amongst most of my fellow bibliophiles is a desire to try new and different authors and genres. I, as an Indian woman, have been partial to reading books written by fellow Indian and Desi writers since I first got a library card.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Asked 46 Women What They Thought About The Term 'Plus-Size', And Here's What They Had To Say

It's 2020, where change is inevitable and norms are not only questioned, but challenged.

5714

We live in a world where it's become customary to push boundaries, break rules, and question standards upheld by society. Though try as we might, some of these standards are harder to conquer than others — body image is one of the top contenders.

For years, the body positivity movement has pushed for the acceptance of all marginalized body types not represented or celebrated in the media. Recently, we've gotten better at appreciating and accepting all body types, but one thing that's still lingering is the stigma of body image in the fashion industry — more specifically, the term "plus-size."

Keep Reading... Show less
Netflix

Many popular TV shows are holding off premiers until spring, so most people are relying on their television subscriptions to get them through a socially distant fall semester.

Thankfully, Netflix was busy filming this past year because there is a ton of new original content coming in the near future. From mysteries to romances, here are some of the best new shows you have to check out this year:

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Taylor Swift Sang 'betty' At The ACMs And It Was The Perfect First Live 'folklore' Performance

I guarantee that Inez is spreading rumors about how fire this performance was.

4600
CBS

The Academy of Country Music Awards were last night and the performances were wonderful, but Taylor Swift's live version of "betty" from her newest album "folklore" really took the cake for me.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

9 Reasons I Unfollowed All The Fitness Influencers On My Instagram Feed

I don't need to feel bad about myself because of who I follow on social media.

3377

Throughout quarantine, something that a lot of us picked up on was working out. With all the free time, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to work on that "dream bod" you've been wanting for years, or to just feel good about yourself.

A common way to stay motivated and keep yourself on-task is to follow fitness influencers on various platforms. For some people, yes, this can be a healthy and helpful way to keep your drive. In other cases, however, this can do more harm than good.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments