Ernest Hemingway is revered by some as one of the best writers in American history. He had his share of problems and successes and made a deep impact in our literature. Hemingway was an important literary figure and writer, whose childhood experiences and significant events in his adult years are reflected in his works in a variety of ways. Ernest Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899. He grew up near Chicago, in Oak Park, Illinois, in a well off, middle-class family. He had four siblings named Marcelline, Ursula, Madelaine, and Leicester.
The young Ernest was energetic, lively, imaginative, and happy. He ad a problem, earlier on, with lying (Richards 16). While he was still young, his father introduced him to the world of nature. They would go fishing together, which was an activity that Ernest would enjoy for the rest of his life. He soon became an extremely good fisherman, and the family photo album was filled with many of his fishing pictures (19). Some of his most memorable times of his youth were spent in the familys summer cottage at Walloon Lake, Mrs. Hemingway insisted that each of her children play an instrument.
Ernest was to learn the cello, which he was never good at and did not like (Richards 19). During the time when he as supposed to be practicing his cello and his mother was not around, he would invite friends over and have boxing matches. Later, he took boxing lessons (23). Ernest eventually turned into more of an outdoor person. During the summers at Walloon Lake, he loved to shoot clay pigeons with his father. Like fishing, he became very good at this sport. His grandfather gave him a twenty-gauge shotgun on his tenth birthday.
This gift became his most prized possession (Richards 19). When he was fifteen, Ernest ran away from home. This did not last very long though, and he came back to graduate from Oak Park High School in 1917. Around this time was when the United States entered World War I. He tried to enlist, but was not accepted because of an eye injury that he got during one of his boxing fights (Cournos After that, he decided not go to college, but instead, he got a job with the Kansas City Star. The next spring, he began a career with foreign armies (Cournos 130).
After he was shot during his brave rescue of a soldier in the Italian Army, he was sent to a hospital (Richards 29). There, he met Agnes von Kurowsky, and they fell in love. However, she declined to marry him, and later, she became Catherine Baker in Hemingways book A Farewell to Arms (30). After being part of the Red Cross and the Italian Army, he went to Toronto for another newspaper job (Cournos 130). In 1919, Ernest Hemingway married Hadley Richardson, his high-school sweetheart. They had one son but were divorced in 1926 (132). He married Pauline Pfeiffer the next year, and they had two sons (133).
By December 1921, he went to Europe as a correspondent for the Toronto Star. While there, he was a reporter for the wars in Greece and Turkey. In 1922, on his way to the Lausanne peace conference, he lost his briefcase containing everything he had written, except one story, My Old Man. Edward J. O Brien used it in his The Best Short Stories of 1923 to which he dedicated to Ernest Hemingway. Soon after that, Ernest was starting to become a recognized writer (130). In 1925, Ernest and some friends went to Spain to join in the Pamplona fiesta.
Here, they would run in front of a herd of bulls at the start of the bullfight season (Richards 30). One bull injured Ernest severely, and his novel, The Sun Also Rises, came somewhat from this visit to Spain (45). Also in 1925, In Our Time, which was a collection of short stories, included many of his trips to Michigan with his family (46). Published right after his twenty-seventh birthday, this as his first successful book (Cournos 131). The Snows of Kilimanjaro, which was later made into a movie, came from his experience on an African safari in which he had a scare by a buffalo.
While hunting, his first shot injured it, and his second shot killed it when it was only a few feet away (Richards 48). The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber was also a tale about his African adventures (61). For Whom the Bell Tolls and Farewell to Arms were about the effect of war on people and a love affair during a war, respectively. These both drew on incidents during his life while he was in the war. Both were very popular and big sellers (65). One of his stories, The Killers, was featured in another collection of short stories, called Men Without Women.
The Killers was set in a small Chicago diner that Hemingway remembered from when he was younger. Also in 1929, he released Farewell to Arms which gave him near universal acclaim. A war story more about love than war, is undoubtedly based on the authors own war experiences, although he was not personally present at the retreat from Caporetto (Cournos 131). In the 1930s, Ernest got the reputation as fighting Hemingway. He used his knowledge of bullfighting to write Death in the Afternoon. It includes his views, reactions to, and actual experiences of bullfighting.
In 1934, he used his trip to Africa on a hunting expedition and the information he gathered on it to write Green Hills of Africa. In 1937, To Have and Have Not was his views and experiences of the Florida Keys and Cuba (Cournos 132). Ernest renewed his love for fishing, hunting, and boxing when they lived in Key West from 1928 to 1938 (133). Ernest Hemingways love for Spain and going there, helped him to produce numerous books. The Fascist takeover in March 1939 influenced one of his well-known books, For Whom the Bell Tolls.
Hemingways experience with wars obviously gives him some of his ideas and views for his war-oriented books. For Whom the Bell Tolls is said to be one of the classic war narratives of the twentieth century (Ernest 100). When the Spanish Civil War started, Ernest made trips back and forth to Spain as a reporter for the North American Newspaper Alliance. While there, he met Martha Gellhorn, who is said to have been the model for the woman in Ernests play, The Fifth Column. Being his only full-length play, it is also set in Spain, but in Madrid (Cournos 133).