Ernest Miller Hemingway, an acclaimed American novelist, short-story writer, and journalist, left an indelible mark on 20th-century fiction with his distinct and understated writing style, famously referred to as the iceberg theory. Born on July 21, 1899, Cicero, (now in Oak Park), Illinois, U.S. left an unerasable mark on American Literature. He died on July 2, 1961, in Ketchum, Idaho. His daring lifestyle and public persona garnered him admiration from later generations. Hemingway’s prolific period of literary output spanned from the mid-1920s to the mid-1950s, during which he was honored with the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. Throughout his career, he published seven novels, six collections of short stories, and two nonfiction works. Following his passing, three novels, four short-story collections, and three nonfiction works were released posthumously, solidifying his status as a timeless figure in American literature.
Born and raised in Oak Park, Illinois, Hemingway initially worked as a reporter for The Kansas City Star after completing high school. However, he soon embarked on a more adventurous path, enlisting as an ambulance driver in World War I on the Italian Front. In 1918, he suffered severe injuries and returned home, experiences that would later serve as inspiration for his celebrated novel, “A Farewell to Arms” (1929).
In 1921, he tied the knot with Hadley Richardson, the first of his four wives. The couple relocated to Paris, where Hemingway worked as a foreign correspondent for the Toronto Star. Paris exposed him to the vibrant community of modernist writers and artists, famously known as the “Lost Generation” of the 1920s expatriates. Hemingway’s debut novel, “The Sun Also Rises,” was published in 1926.
However, his marriage to Richardson ended in divorce in 1927, leading to a subsequent marriage to Pauline Pfeiffer. This union also faced its demise following his return from reporting on the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939), which inspired his novel “For Whom the Bell Tolls” (1940). In 1940, he married Martha Gellhorn, and later, his path crossed with Mary Welsh in London during World War II, resulting in his separation from Gellhorn. Throughout his journalistic endeavors, Hemingway reported on momentous events such as the Normandy landings and the liberation of Paris alongside Allied troops.
He established enduring homes in Key West, Florida, during the 1930s, and in Cuba during the 1940s and 1950s. Unfortunately, a 1954 trip to Africa led to two consecutive plane accidents that left him in a state of perpetual pain and ill health for much of his remaining years. In 1959, he acquired a residence in Ketchum, Idaho, where he tragically died by suicide in mid-1961. Despite his untimely passing, Ernest Hemingway’s literary legacy endures as a true icon of American literature.
In 1926, The New York Times praised Ernest Hemingway’s debut novel, “The Sun Also Rises,” hailing it as an extraordinary work with a gripping narrative and a lean, athletic prose that put many other literary works to shame. Hemingway’s writing style, characterized by spare and tight prose, revolutionized American literature and earned him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. His mastery of narrative and influential impact on contemporary writing were exemplified in his novel “The Old Man and the Sea.”
Hemingway’s approach to writing, as depicted in his own words from “Death in the Afternoon,” was centered on conveying emotions and experiences in a way that allowed readers to feel them as strongly as if they were explicitly stated. He famously compared his writing style to an iceberg, with only a fraction of the story’s substance visible above the surface. The rest operated beneath, supported by symbolism and underlying structures.
The aftermath of World War I deeply influenced Hemingway’s style, as he and other modernists rejected the elaborate prose of 19th-century writers. Instead, they embraced a style where meaning was conveyed through dialogue, actions, and silences, leaving much unspoken but felt by the reader.
Having started as a short story writer, Hemingway learned to extract maximum impact from minimal words, using pruned language and intensities to convey profound truths. He skillfully employed the iceberg theory, crafting stories with apparent simplicity while concealing deeper layers of meaning and significance.
Hemingway’s unique syntax, characterized by simple sentences and the omission of subordinating conjunctions, created a photographic “snapshot” style that allowed events to build and coalesce into a complete whole. His writing often took cinematic approaches, employing techniques like quick cuts and splicing scenes, inviting readers to participate actively in the narrative by filling gaps and connecting multiple strands.
Polysyndeton, the repetitive use of conjunctions like “and,” added immediacy to Hemingway’s prose. He used this technique, along with other cinematic devices, to juxtapose vivid and startling images. His portrayal of emotions was not meant to eliminate them but to depict them more scientifically, relying on objective correlatives, as seen in works by other influential writers like Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, James Joyce, and Marcel Proust.
Indeed, Hemingway’s appreciation of Proust’s “Remembrance of Things Past” further showcases his literary depth and influence. Overall, his style continues to be celebrated for its ability to capture the essence of life and emotions through seemingly simple yet profound storytelling.
Themes in Hemingway’s writings
Hemingway’s literary works encompass a diverse array of themes, exploring love, war, travel, wilderness, and loss. Critic Leslie Fiedler identifies a recurring motif in Hemingway’s writings, “The Sacred Land,” which expands beyond the American West to encompass various scenic locations like mountains in Spain, Switzerland, Africa, and streams in Michigan. Nature serves as a place of rebirth and solace for characters, particularly hunters and fishermen who experience moments of transcendence during their pursuits.
A prominent theme in Hemingway’s works revolves around Americans living abroad. Characters in his stories often integrate into foreign cultures, becoming multilingual and bicultural, which significantly influences their actions and decisions. Expatriation becomes a metaphysical reality for many characters, symbolizing a rootless outsider perspective.
Hemingway’s treatment of female characters has drawn varied interpretations. Some critics see an inversion of the traditional “Dark Woman vs. Light Woman” theme, with the dark and goddess-like Brett Ashley from “The Sun Also Rises” contrasted with the light and deadly Margot Macomber from “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.” Feminist critics have scrutinized Hemingway’s portrayal of women, but more recent assessments acknowledge a sensitivity to gender issues, challenging the notion that his works are solely masculine-centric.
Death emerges as a pervasive theme in Hemingway’s writing, reflecting his experiences in war and the existentialist philosophy he embraced. The notion of authenticity is closely linked to facing death with courage and dignity, leading to a life lived genuinely and truthfully. Characters who achieve this authenticity find redemption, while those who resist facing life’s truths may experience emasculation.
Hemingway’s descriptive prowess is evident in his vivid portrayals of food and drink in his narratives. Meals often take on symbolic or restorative significance for his characters, offering moments of solace and post-war integration.
Critics have interpreted Hemingway’s treatment of certain themes in various ways. The portrayal of race, homosexuality, and masculinity in his works has sparked discussions about the author’s views and the cultural context in which he wrote. As literary analysis continues to evolve, Hemingway’s contributions to American literature remain a subject of both celebration and scrutiny.
Life of Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Miller Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899, in Oak Park, Illinois, a prosperous suburb near Chicago. His parents, Clarence Edmonds Hemingway, a physician, and Grace Hall Hemingway, a musician, were highly educated and esteemed members of the conservative Oak Park community. They named their son after Grace’s father, Ernest Miller Hall, and went on to have a total of six children, with Ernest being the second eldest.
Growing up in Oak Park, Hemingway’s mother, a renowned musician, taught him to play the cello, although he initially resisted learning. Despite his later claims of disliking his mother, biographers note that they shared similar energies and enthusiasms. The family spent summers at Windemere on Walloon Lake in Michigan, where young Ernest developed a love for hunting, fishing, and camping in the wilderness, an enduring passion that would shape his writing and lifestyle.
Hemingway attended Oak Park and River Forest High School from 1913 to 1917. Thus excelling in sports like boxing, track and field, water polo, and football. He was also a member of the school orchestra, playing the cello alongside his sister Marcelline. English classes received high marks, and he actively participated in editing the school’s newspaper and yearbook, adopting the pen name “Ring Lardner Jr.” as an homage to the Chicago Tribune sports writer Ring Lardner.
Following high school, Hemingway briefly worked as a cub reporter for The Kansas City Star, where he absorbed the newspaper’s style guide, shaping his writing with its principles of using short sentences, short first paragraphs, vigorous English, and a positive tone.
Hemingway’s formative years in Oak Park, his experiences with nature in Michigan, and his early foray into journalism laid the foundation for his illustrious literary career.
World War 1
Ernest Hemingway’s involvement in World War I played a crucial role in shaping his life and influencing his writing. Born in 1899, Hemingway was just 18 years old when the United States entered the war in 1917. At the time, he was still in high school in Oak Park, Illinois, but he was determined to join the fight.
Hemingway tried to enlist in the U.S. Army, but his poor eyesight and young age initially prevented him from being accepted. Undeterred, he volunteered as an ambulance driver for the American Red Cross and traveled to Europe in May 1918. He was assigned to the Italian Front, where he served in the conflict known as the Battle of Caporetto.
During his time as an ambulance driver, Hemingway witnessed the horrors of war firsthand. He transported wounded soldiers from the frontlines to field hospitals, exposing him to the brutality and devastation of battle. These experiences deeply impacted him and would later be reflected in his writing, particularly in his novel “A Farewell to Arms.”
On July 8, 1918, Hemingway was seriously injured while distributing chocolates and cigarettes to Italian soldiers at the frontlines. An Austrian mortar shell exploded nearby, severely wounding him with shrapnel. Despite his injuries, he managed to carry a wounded soldier to safety, an act of bravery that earned him an Italian Silver Medal of Valor.
After his injury, Hemingway spent several months in a hospital in Milan, where he fell in love with a nurse named Agnes von Kurowsky. Their brief and intense romance inspired his novel “A Farewell to Arms” and is often cited as one of the defining experiences of his life.
In January 1919, Hemingway returned to the United States, hailed as a war hero. However, he found it challenging to adjust to civilian life after the traumas of war. He worked as a journalist for a short period but yearned to return to Europe.
Hemingway’s experiences in World War I continued to haunt him, and he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although the condition was not widely understood or recognized at the time. His writing served as a way to process his wartime experiences and explore themes of bravery, sacrifice, love, and the futility of war.
Hemingway’s time in World War I had a profound impact on his literary style as well. His direct, spare prose and focus on the “iceberg theory” of omitting extraneous details to reveal deeper truths were influenced by the brevity and intensity of war.
Overall, World War I was a defining period in Hemingway’s life. Thus shaping his identity as a writer and leaving an indelible mark on his literary works. His experiences on the battlefield and the relationships he formed during that time profoundly influenced the themes and characters in his novels and short stories, making him one of the most significant voices of the “Lost Generation” of writers who emerged after the war.
Ernest Hemingway in Paris
Ernest Hemingway’s time in Paris during the 1920s was a pivotal period in his life and career. He was drawn to the vibrant city not only for its affordable living conditions but also for the presence of “the most interesting people in the world.” Paris became a hub for expatriate artists and writers, and Hemingway found himself in the company of influential figures like Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, and Ezra Pound.
Living in a small walk-up apartment with his first wife, Hadley, in the Latin Quarter. Hemingway embraced the bohemian lifestyle of the “Lost Generation.” Gertrude Stein became his mentor and godmother to his son, Jack. He frequented Stein’s salon, where he met renowned painters like Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, and Juan Gris.
Ezra Pound played a crucial role in fostering Hemingway’s talent. By introducing him to James Joyce, with whom he shared “alcoholic sprees.” During this period, Hemingway worked as a journalist. Thus filing numerous stories for the Toronto Star and covering significant events like the Greco-Turkish War.
The loss of a suitcase containing Hemingway’s manuscripts was a devastating blow to him and his wife. Nonetheless, he continued writing and publishing his first book, “Three Stories and Ten Poems,” and later “in our time.” Hemingway’s experiences in Spain, including witnessing bullfighting in Pamplona, served as inspiration for his novel “The Sun Also Rises.”
Despite the success of his writing, Hemingway’s marriage with Hadley began to crumble due to his affair with Pauline Pfeiffer, a journalist for Vogue magazine. They eventually divorced, and Hemingway married Pauline. The couple moved to Key West, Florida, in 1928, where Hemingway would find inspiration for many of his future works.
Hemingway’s time in Paris and the relationships he formed with influential writers and artists had a profound impact on his writing style and themes. He emerged as one of the leading voices of the “Lost Generation,”. Thus capturing the disillusionment and complexities of post-war life in his works. His experiences during this period influenced some of his most celebrated novels. Therefore making it a crucial chapter in the life of one of America’s greatest literary figures.
Ernest Hemingway in The Key West and Carribean
Ernest Hemingway’s life in Key West and the Caribbean was a period marked by adventure, writing, and a deep connection with the sea. After leaving Paris in 1928, Hemingway settled in Key West, Florida, where he would spend nearly a decade. This period would be a defining chapter in his life and a source of inspiration for several of his literary works.
In Key West, Hemingway found solace in the tranquil surroundings and the vibrant community of artists and writers. He purchased a Spanish Colonial-style home, which he named “La Finca Vigía” (The Lookout Farm), and it became his primary residence. The house is now preserved as the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, offering a glimpse into the writer’s life during this time.
Hemingway’s love for the sea grew during his years in Key West. He frequently engaged in deep-sea fishing, big-game hunting, and boating expeditions. His experiences on the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean would shape the themes of many of his later works, such as “To Have and Have Not” and “Islands in the Stream.” Hemingway’s passion for adventure and his firsthand knowledge of fishing and sailing brought authenticity to his depictions of maritime life.
During his time in Key West, Hemingway continued his writing career with great success. He wrote prolifically and produced some of his most notable works, including “A Farewell to Arms” and “Death in the Afternoon.” The laid-back atmosphere and the beauty of the island provided him with the ideal environment to hone his craft and draw inspiration from his surroundings.
Hemingway’s love for the Caribbean led him to explore the islands extensively. He spent time in Cuba, particularly in the town of Cojimar, which served as a setting for “The Old Man and the Sea.” This novella, published in 1952, brought Hemingway international acclaim and earned him the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Nobel Prize in Literature.
The Caribbean culture and its people left a lasting impression on Hemingway, and he often incorporated local themes and characters into his stories. His fascination with the islands and their unique way of life is evident in his writings, which captured the essence of the Caribbean and its vibrant spirit.
While Hemingway’s time in Key West and the Caribbean was fruitful and creatively fulfilling, it was not without personal challenges. His marriage to Pauline Pfeiffer faced difficulties, and their relationship eventually deteriorated. Despite this, Hemingway’s love for the region and its natural beauty remained a constant source of inspiration for his writing.
Hemingway’s years in Key West and the Caribbean were a significant period of his life, shaping not only his literary output but also his connection to nature and his understanding of human emotions and relationships. The region’s allure, combined with Hemingway’s adventurous spirit and literary talent, contributed to the creation of timeless works that continue to captivate readers and preserve his legacy as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century.
Hemingway in Cuba
In early 1939, Ernest Hemingway made a significant move to Cuba, crossing over on his boat to live in the Hotel Ambos Mundos in Havana. This marked the beginning of a painful separation from his second wife, Pauline, as he had met Martha Gellhorn, who would soon join him in Cuba. They decided to rent “Finca Vigía,” a 15-acre property located 15 miles from Havana, where they could live together.
As Hemingway’s relationship with Pauline crumbled. She and the children left him that summer after a reunion during a visit to Wyoming. He divorced Pauline finally, and he married Martha Gellhorn on November 20, 1940, in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Hemingway’s life, divided between his primary summer residence in Ketchum, Idaho, near Sun Valley, and his winter residence in Cuba. He was particularly fond of cats during his time in Cuba. And the property at Finca Vigía was home to dozens of them.
Inspired by Martha Gellhorn, Hemingway wrote his most famous novel, “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” He began working on the book in March 1939 and completed it in July 1940. The novel was published in October 1940, receiving widespread acclaim and reaffirming Hemingway’s literary reputation.
In January 1941, Martha got the job to report from China for Collier’s magazine, and Hemingway accompanied her. While in China, he sent dispatches for the newspaper PM but found little enthusiasm for the country.
During this period, there have been claims suggesting that Hemingway might have been recruited to work for the NKVD, the Soviet intelligence agency. He was given the code name “Argo” on ideological grounds. However, the details of this association remain controversial and debated among historians.
By December 1941, they returned to Cuba just before the United States declared war. Hemingway convinced the Cuban government to help him refit his boat, the Pilar. He had the intention of using it to ambush German submarines off the Cuban coast.
Hemingway’s time in Cuba was full of writing, adventure, and an affinity for the local culture. The island served as a source of inspiration for his literary works. And his association with Martha Gellhorn brought a new chapter to his life. Throughout this period, Hemingway continued to explore his passion for travel, nature, and storytelling. Therefore solidifying his position as one of the most celebrated writers of the 20th century.
Hemingway in Spain
In 1937, Hemingway embarked on a journey to Spain. He wanted to cover the Spanish Civil War as a correspondent for the North American Newspaper Alliance (NANA). Despite his wife Pauline’s concerns about him working in a war zone. Hemingway felt compelled to witness and report on the conflict. During this time, he collaborated with Dutch filmmaker Joris Ivens as a screenwriter for the documentary film “The Spanish Earth.” However, his friend John Dos Passos left the project after the execution of José Robles, a mutual friend, and Spanish translator, which created a rift between them.
While in Spain, Hemingway was also joined by the journalist and writer Martha Gellhorn. Whom he had met a year earlier in Key West. Martha was a St. Louis native like Hadley, Hemingway’s first wife. And she had also worked for Vogue in Paris like Pauline, his second wife. However, Martha was different from his previous partner. As she did not cater to Hemingway’s ego and had a strong and independent personality.
In July 1937, Hemingway attended the Second International Writers’ Congress held in Valencia, Barcelona, and Madrid. The conference brought together intellectuals and writers to discuss their attitudes toward the war. During his time in Madrid, Francoist forces were bombarding the city. Hemingway wrote his only play, “The Fifth Column.”
After returning to Key West for a few months, Hemingway went back to Spain twice in 1938. During his second visit, he was present at the Battle of the Ebro, the last stand of the Republican forces. He witnessed the British and American journalists leaving the battle, among whom he was one of the last to cross the river.
Hemingway’s experiences in Spain during the civil war deeply influenced him and had a significant impact on his writing. His time there shaped his perspectives on war, politics, and the human condition, and these experiences reflected in some of his later works.
Hemingway in World War 2
During World War II, Ernest Hemingway played an active role as a war correspondent, reporting on various fronts and conflicts. As a seasoned journalist and experienced traveler, he felt compelled to cover the war and document the events and experiences of soldiers and civilians alike.
In 1940, after marrying Martha Gellhorn, Hemingway traveled to China to cover the ongoing Sino-Japanese War. He sent dispatches for the newspaper PM while in China, but he was not particularly fond of the country. However, this experience in China would later influence his novel “Across the River and Into the Trees,”. Which is set during the Italian campaign of World War II.
After covering the war in China, Hemingway returned to Cuba and continued his involvement as a war correspondent. In 1944, he traveled to Europe to cover the war in Italy and France. He was present during the Allied D-Day invasion of Normandy. Also known as Operation Overlord, and reported on the Battle of Hürtgen Forest and the Battle of the Bulge. Hemingway’s dispatches from the frontlines provided vivid and firsthand accounts of the battles and the experiences of soldiers in combat.
One of the most significant events of his reporting during World War II was his coverage of the liberation of the French capital, Paris. He was one of the first correspondents to enter the city after its liberation. And his reporting on the celebrations and joyous scenes in Paris captured the spirit of victory.
Hemingway’s time as a war correspondent during World War II exposed him to the harsh realities of war and its impact on individuals and societies. These experiences influenced his writing, and themes of war, heroism, and the human condition are evident in his later works.
It is worth noting that in addition to his journalistic work during World War II, Hemingway also played a direct role in the war effort. He was working with the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and assisted in intelligence-gathering activities.
Overall, Hemingway’s experiences as a war correspondent during World War II shaped his understanding of the world. And provided rich material for his literary works. His reporting from the frontlines brought the realities of war to readers worldwide. And solidified his legacy as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century.
Hemingway-Cuba and the Nobel Prize
In early 1939, Hemingway traveled to Cuba to live at the Hotel Ambos Mundos in Havana. During this time, he experienced a separation from his second wife, Pauline, as their relationship began to deteriorate. In Cuba, Hemingway met and fell in love with journalist and writer Martha Gellhorn, who would become his third wife. They rented a property called “Finca Vigía,” a 15-acre estate just outside Havana. Where Hemingway spent much of his time during the war years.
Hemingway’s time in Cuba was a series of accidents and health issues for both him and his family. He involved himself in a car accident in 1945, where he suffered injuries to his knee and forehead. His wife, Mary, also experienced skiing accidents that resulted in broken ankles. Their son, Patrick, suffered a head wound in a separate car accident in 1947.
During this period, Ernest Hemingway also faced the loss of many of his literary friends and mentors, adding to his emotional struggles. He dealt with severe headaches, high blood pressure, and weight problems, and eventually diagnosed with diabetes, which exacerbated by years of heavy drinking.
Despite these challenges, Hemingway managed to work on his writing projects. He began working on “The Garden of Eden” and a trilogy titled “The Land,” “The Sea,” and “The Air.” However, both projects stalled, reflecting the difficulties he faced during these years.
In 1948, Ernest Hemingway and Mary traveled to Europe and spent several months in Venice. It was there that he fell in love with 19-year-old Adriana Ivancich. Which inspired his novel “Across the River and into the Trees.” However, the novel received negative reviews upon its publication.
Despite the setbacks, Hemingway’s career saw a resurgence with the release of “The Old Man and the Sea” in 1952. The novel received critical acclaim and won the Pulitzer Prize, revitalizing his literary reputation.
In 1954, Ernest Hemingway received the Nobel Prize in Literature, but his physical and mental health began to decline. He suffered two plane crashes in Africa, resulting in serious injuries and pain. He battled depression and struggled with alcoholism, which further contributed to his declining health.
In 1957, Ernest Hemingway discovered long-forgotten notebooks from his Paris years. Thus leading him to shape the material into his memoir “A Moveable Feast.” However, despite his productive period, he fell into a deeper depression, from which he could not recover.
In 1960, Ernest Hemingway and Mary left Cuba for the last time. It was due to political tensions and fears of property expropriation by the Cuban government. They settled in Ketchum, Idaho, where he hoped for a more peaceful life. However, Hemingway’s physical and mental decline continued, leading to his tragic suicide in 1961.
Ernest Hemingway’s life in Cuba and beyond was of extraordinary highs and devastating lows. His experiences during this time, along with his personal struggles and the impact of war and loss, profoundly shaped his writing and contributed to his status as one of the most iconic and influential authors of the 20th century.
Ernest Hemingway and Nobel Prize
Ernest Hemingway’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech was in the form of a recorded message. Here is the transcript of his speech:
“Having no facility for speech-making and no command of oratory, I wish to thank the administrators of the generosity of Alfred Nobel for this Prize.
No writer who knows the great writers who did not receive the Prize can accept it other than with humility. There is no need to list these writers. Everyone here may make his own list according to his knowledge and his conscience.
It would be impossible for me to ask the Ambassador of my country to read a speech in which a writer said all of the things which are in his heart. Things may not be immediately discernible in what a man writes. And in this sometimes he is fortunate. But eventually, they are quite clear, and by these and the degree of alchemy that he possesses he will endure or forgotten.
Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer’s loneliness but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity. Or the lack of it, each day.
For a true writer, each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that was unique or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed.
How simple the writing of literature would be if it were only necessary to write in another way. It is because we have had such great writers in the past that a writer drives far out past where he can go, out to where no one can help him.
I have spoken too long for a writer. A writer should write what he has to say and not speak it. Again I thank you.”
(Note: The recording of Hemingway’s acceptance speech is approximately 3 minutes and 30 seconds long.)
Hemingway in Idaho (Suicide)
In the years leading up to his death, Ernest Hemingway continued to struggle with his writing and his health. In the mid-1950s, he revisited the material that would later become his memoir “A Moveable Feast,”. But found it difficult to organize and work on his writing. He traveled to Spain in 1959 to research bullfighting articles for Life magazine. But his health and writing became increasingly disorganized.
In 1960, Ernest Hemingway left Cuba for the last time and returned to New York City. However, he soon became paranoid and believed the FBI was continuously monitoring his daily routine life. His mental and physical health deteriorated rapidly, and he suffered from depression and anxiety. He sought treatment at the Mayo Clinic, where he underwent electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and was diagnosed with hypertension.
After his release from the clinic, Ernest Hemingway returned to his home in Ketchum, Idaho. In April 1961, he attempted suicide. People took him to the hospital where he got treatment. He underwent more ECT treatments, but his condition continued to worsen. On July 2, 1961, Ernest Hemingway took his own life, shooting himself with his favorite shotgun. People located him in the early morning, and despite efforts to save him, he passed away.
The funeral of Ernest Hemingway was held in Ketchum, and family and friends attended the service. His death was initially reported as accidental, but it was later confirmed that he had intentionally taken his own life. Hemingway was buried in the Ketchum cemetery, and a memorial to him was erected just north of Sun Valley.
The final years of Ernest Hemingway were marked by mental and physical struggles. Likely exacerbated by his heavy drinking and a hereditary health condition. His death marked the end of an era for American literature. And his legacy as one of the most influential and celebrated writers of the 20th century lives on.
A memorial to Hemingway just north of Sun Valley is inscribed on the base with a eulogy. Hemingway had written for a friend several decades earlier:
Best of all he loved the fall
the leaves yellow on cottonwoods
leaves floating on trout streams
and above the hills
the high blue windless skies
…Now he will be a part of them forever.
Ernest Hemingway in Literature
The legacy of Ernest Hemingway in American literature is primarily because of his distinctive writing style. Which continues to influence writers to this day. After the publication of “The Sun Also Rises,” he became the voice of the post-World War I generation. He set a standard that many authors sought to either emulate or deliberately avoid. Despite the initial backlash and controversy surrounding his works, Hemingway’s stories and novels have become an integral part of cultural heritage. Thus leaving a lasting impact on readers and aspiring writers.
The life of Ernest Hemingway has been extensively explored and sometimes sensationalized, leading to what some consider a “Hemingway industry.” However, scholars emphasize the importance of separating his literary contributions from his personal life and public image. Despite projecting a macho and adventurous persona, Hemingway was as introverted and private, much like J.D. Salinger, who himself acknowledged Hemingway as an influence and greatly admired him during World War II.
The influence of Ernest Hemingway is evident in various tributes and honors bestowed upon him and his works. He has inspired literary references in other media, such as novels, movies, and even a minor planet named after him. His distinctive writing style has imitated humorously in literary competitions. Hemingway’s legacy is also preserved through foundations. And awards dedicated to supporting Hemingway’s scholarship and recognizing achievements in the arts and culture.
The impact of Ernest Hemingway extends to the preservation of his former residences. Resultantly which have turned into museums listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Additionally, a recent documentary by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, titled “Hemingway,” provides a comprehensive exploration of his life, works, and relationships, showcasing the lasting relevance of his contributions to literature and culture.
Overall, Ernest Hemingway’s legacy remains firmly established as one of the most influential and enduring figures in American literature. He left a profound mark on generations of readers and writers alike.