Joe Smith Ms. Johnson Period 4 22 May 2000 Suicide Lurks Over the Horizon Many people say that Ernest Hemingways stature within the view of the public has only increased since his death, proving that his work has endured the test of time. In many minds of Americans who are familiar with Hemingway, he was a man of contrast and contradictions. Simply put, Americans have this theory of Hemingway because he stood for rugged individualism through his manly, brutish nature yet he committed suicide. However, in all honesty this notion is false.
At first, agreeance with the majority was easy because it seemed logical but after reanalyzing Hemingways works, its definitive that Hemingway conversed with the world through his characters. Hemingway was trapped within the image he created for himself. He talked through his writing but he wasnt being heard nor understood. The foreshadowing of Hemingways suicide was submerged throughout his writing but nobody could dive so deep in order to hear what he was saying until it was too late. Hemingway is clearly thought to be a higher and more prominent figure proceeding his death than he was as a tangible, animated person on Earth.
During his prime years Hemingway created a “mythic persona” yet certain stature for himself (Nagel 1). He “defined manliness” but not solely through what he wrote, what he said, and what he expressed, but also through what he did: fishing for elusive gamefish from trout to tarpon and marlin, hunting to life threatening extremes for highly prized game, watching bullfights with a “discerning eye”, being a womens man, dominating his nemeses, and pursuing all wars for the benefit of his nation (Valiunas 77). However, this claim to fame personality of Hemingway is what drove him six feet under. He built up such a recollected and admirable prestige to himself that there was no backing down. “Without the man who wanted to feel every thrilling sensation he could, the writer who sought immortality would have been utterly a loss” (77).
Basically, he was a fake, a phony, a false identity. Hemingway trapped himself into an unwanted status amongst the public through the means of the media. Its as if Hemingway was grabbed and thrown into an air tight cell where there was no way out but through the taking of his own life. Within just seven years of earning one of the most well known and prestigious awards within the field of literature, Hemingway took his own life (Gerard 254). He was portrayed as a man who desired immortality but later realized that he must go head to head, or gun to head is a better description, with the lack of eternity each day (254).
It was “a suicide interpreted as the culmination of his belief in taking responsibility for his own life, even the termination of it” (Nagel 1). Hemingway suffered from severe depression and physical decline. His memory was depleted through electric shock therapy that he endured after hospitalization in the Mayo Clinic. On July 2, 1961, at the age of sixty two, Hemingway took his favorite shotgun, put the barrel of the gun to his head, and proceeded to pull the trigger (Gerard 254). From that dreary day in history to present day, Hemingway has grown in the eyes and minds of people across the world. Hemingways “life certified the value of his art. But his art also proved the value of his life” (Valiunas 77). His simplistic and precise writing style, pathway to literature freedom, and hard core devotion to the humanities has left a permanent incision on the world of literature.
In his works, Hemingway was immensely influential because of the aspects of modern life that he wrote about. “Hemingways reputation and influence will forever rest on an uneasy blending of the myth of his personal adventures with the artistic merit of his best fiction” (Nagel 2). Many of his novels and short stories depict a universe that is engulfed of insensitivity, violence, and corruption. His main characters are all scarred both “physically and psychologically” by trying to find guidance within their lives (1). This is one of the main reasons that Hemingways devotion to literature is still appreciated as some of the best literary work ever produced.
Almost any person alive can relate and cope with at least one of Hemingways characters predicaments and struggles that they face. Its the parallelism of the readers life to the characters life that leaves people intrigued by Hemingways writing. However, its not just the correlation between the reader and the protagonist that makes Hemingway so famous. Its also the vivid reality in which Hemingway writes. He can write in such a dramatic, perceptive form because he has lived through or was living through exactly what he was writing about. The life of Hemingway was translated through his writing.
It may not have been clearly, directly, or simply put even though this was the way Hemingway wrote, but it was buried beneath his words. To really hear Hemingway its “as if it were one of those annoying 3-D posters that you cant see until you make a concerted effort not to try to see, its simple once you know what not to look for” (Kwan 1). Hemingway is recognized as the icon of the theme of rugged individualism amongst his readers. In combination with his suicide and the themes he wrote and pursued, Hemingway has been branded a contradiction with the majority of people who are educated about him. His fans were not aware of his clashing mentality until he took his own life.
People are said to either love Hemingway or hate him. The latter think he is a “pompous bullying braggart who made up tall stories to inflate his own reputation, whose writing is a mannered, chest-thumping parody of itself” (Gerard 254). During his life Hemingway was a connoisseur of celebrity and drooled for immortality but throughout his career he ran away from broadcasters, refused to do interviews, and gave the cold shoulder to biographers. He flew to far away places where he desired a private life without all of the hype from the media (254). In contrast, what people see as a contradiction, few others may see as a cry for help.
Hemingway was caught up in an act that he couldnt escape. For Hemingway, it was like being caught in a riptide. He tried to swim against it and only got pulled further in. Literature was the means for Hemingway to plead for help but not in a direct sense. Throughout his literature Hemingway wrote in a natural, plain, but thrilling fashion. He didnt use excessive words, extravagant language, or deep metaphors, but there was a lot more behind Hemingways words that were never heard (Nagel 1). His writing was so compelling because he primarily personalized his characters through the needs and wants of himself. In all basicity, Hemingway wrote one large suicide note with the compilement of all of his works.
In On the Road by Jack Kerouac, he writes: And for just a moment I had reached the point of ecstasy that I always wanted to reach, which was the complete step across chronological time into timeless shadows..the potent and inconceivable radiances shinning in bring Mind Essence..I felt sweet, swinging bliss, like a big shot of heroin in the mainline vein..I thought I was going to die the very next moment. (Kwan 4) This passage amazingly describes exactly what Hemingway went through and tried to say. The fame was so thrilling for Hemingway that he got addicted to it, just like Heroin, he couldnt quit. Until the fact that he saw it ruining his life that he decided to end it himself. In almost everyone of Hemingways books he mentions death through puting his characters under the endless emotions that he had endured in real life. In For Whom the Bell Tolls, Hemingway practically writes a clear cut suicide note.
He writes, “The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for and I hate very much to leave it. And you had a lot of luck, he t …