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Biography of Ernest Hemingway

Biography of Ernest Hemingway

What do working at a newspaper, driving an ambulance in World War I, and traveling throughout the world have in common? These diverse experiences helped to shape Ernest Miller Hemingway into a great American author, an author who would shape and influence the styles of writers since his time.

Growing up in Oak Park, Illinois, Hemingway lived a middle class childhood with a controlling mother, who he felt bitter toward as he grew older, and a father was also strict, selfish and domineering. He graduated high school in 1917 and became a reporter for the Kansas City Star. During World War I, he drove ambulance in Italy, was wounded in both knees by shrapnel from an explosion, and fell in love with an American nurse who took care of him. After the war, he became a correspondent for the Toronto Star, and lived in Paris. His work as a correspondent would continue into two more wars, during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), and for the United States during World War II. After the war, he settled in Havana, Cuba and in 1958, moved to Ketchum, Idaho, where he ended his life with a shotgun blast to the head.

While a writer for the Kansas City Star, Ernest Hemingway learned the skills that he would use throughout his career. The style sheet in the newsroom contained these instructions: “Use short sentences. Use short first paragraphs. Use vigorous English.” He was also influenced by the writings of Mark Twain, Stephen Crane, Ezra Pound, and Gertrude Stein. Hemingway abandoned the too-flowery descriptive writing of the Victorian era, and was said to “…write(s) as if he had never read anybody’s writing, as if he had fashioned the art of writing himself.” He also created a character that has become known as the “Hemingway Hero.” These heroes will risk their lives for a principle, but will never sacrifice their honor. The “principle” that the Hemingway hero tried to live up to, has been described by Hemingway scholar Phillip Young as the: “Hemingway Code Hero.” This code hero could be a person that the hero tried to be like, or the code hero might be a principle or idea that the hero tried to uphold. The hero grew out of Hemingway’s belief that the trials a...

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