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BIOGRAPHY: Hemingway, Ernest

Ernest Hemingway was Born on July 21, 1899, in Oak Park , Illinois, a community outside of Chicago. His father , Clarence, was a medical doctor, and his mother, Grace, gave piano and voice lessons. He was born in the family home at 439 Oak Park Avenue , a house built by his widowed grandfather Ernest Hall. Hemingway  was the second of six children, he had four sisters and one brother. He was named after his grandfather Ernest Hall and his great uncle Miller Hall. So his full name is Ernest Miller Hemingway. The town where he lived was basically a conservative town that tried to isolate itself from Chicago`s  liberal seediness. Hemingway was raised with the conservative mid western values of :
   + strong religion
        + hard work
        + physical fitness
         + self determination

As a boy his father taught him to hunt and fish along the shores and in the forests surrounding Lake Michigan. The Hemingway`s had a summer house , called Windemere on Horton Bay at the northern end of Lake Michigan and the family would spend the summer months their trying to stay cool. Hemingway would fish the different streams that ran into the lake, or he would take the row boat out on the bay and do some fishing there. It was something very special for him, because he could always go back to throughout his life, wherever he was. Nature would be touchstone of Hemmingway`s life and work, and though you often found his self living in major cities like:
   + Key West
          + San Francisco de Paula
          + Cuba
          + Idaho

All were convenient locals for hunting and fishing. When Ernest was not hunting or fishing by himself or with his father, his mother taught him the finer points of music. Grace, his mother, was a singer who once had a career on stage, but then she settled down with her husband and occupied her time by giving voice and music lessons to local children, including her own children, but Ernest never had something left for music. Hemingway received his formal schooling in the Oak Park public school systems. In High school he was  a great sportsman, for example: playing football, swimming and water basketball.
He enjoyed working on the High school newspaper called: “THE TRAPEZE” , where he wrote his first articles, usually humorous ones where he imitated the popular satirist of the time, Ring Lardner. Hemingway graduated in the spring of 1917 and instead of going to college like his parents expected, he took a job as a cub reporter for the Kansas City Star. The job was arranged for by his uncle Tyler who was a close friend of the chief editorial writer of the paper.
At the time of Hemingway`s graduation from High School, World War(1) was raging in Europe and despite Woodrow Wilson`s attempts to keep America out of the war , the United States joined the Allies in the fight against Germany and Austria in April ,1917. When Hemingway turned  eighteen he tried to enlist in the army, but it was deferred because of his bad left eye that he probably inherited from his mother. When he heard that the Red Cross was taking volunteers as ambulance drivers he quickly signed up. He was accepted in December of 1917. He left his job at the paper in April 1918, and sailed to Europe in May. In the short time that Ernest worked for the Kansas City Star he learned some stylistic lessons that would later influence his fiction. The newspaper advocated:
        + short sentences
          + short paragraphs
          + active verbs
          + authenticity
          + compression
          + clarity & immediacy

Hemingway later said:
“ Those were the best rules I ever learned for the business of writing. I have never forgotten them.”
Hemingway, upon reaching Europe, first went to Paris,  then in early June, after receiving his orders, he travelled to Milan, Italy. The day he arrived in Italy, a munitions factory exploded and he had to carry mutilated bodies and body parts. Two days later he was dent to an ambulance unit at the town of Schio, where he worked as an ambulance driver.
On July 8, 1918, only a fey weeks after arriving , Hemingway was wounded by fragments from an Austrian mortar shell which landed just a few feet away. The explosion knocked Hemingway unconscious while killing one Italian soldier. 200 pieces of shrapnel being lodged in Hemingway`s legs, but he still managed to carry another wounded soldier back to an ambulance station. And for this, he was awarded the Italian silver Medal for Valour. Hemingway described his injuries to a friend of his:
“ There was one of those big noises  you sometimes hear at the front. I died then. I felt my soul or something coming right out of my body, like you do pull a silk handkerchief out of a pocket by one corner. It flew all around  and then came back and went in again and I was not dead anymore.”
Hemingway`s experiences in Italy and his relationship with his nurse Agnes van Kurowsky  inspired his great novel - A Farewell To Arms- .
Later Hemingway returned to the U.S.  He them went back to reporting, and, in 1921, he met and married Hadley Richardson of St. Louis. Later they went to live in Paris, there Ernest was working for the “Toronto Star “ but they were also living of Hadley`s inheritance. But he was also polishing his fiction, and it was during this period of 1921- 1926 that Ernest established his writing, especially  his style made him unique and very influential.
His first short story “ IN OUR TIME ” was published 1925.
Ernest and Hadley had a son, his name was John. The young family toured a lot of Europe, for example:
+ skiing in the winter. Also during the summers, beginning in 1923, the Hemingway`s travelled to Spain to the Festival of San Fermin in Pamplona. These Spanish experiences provided the material for his novel:
“THE SUN ALSO RISES ”, published in 1926.
It was also during 1926 that Hemingway`s marriage to Hadley broke up, after he had met the wealthy Pauline Pfeiffer.
Ernest and Pauline were married in 1927, and they has two more sons: Patrick in 1928 and Gregory in 1931.
In the late 1930s, Hemingway met and fell in love with Martha Gellhorn, herself a journalist and writer. The two were married in 1940. And in 1944, he met and felt in love with Mary Welsh. He divorced from Martha in 1945 and married Mary in 1946.
He actively supported the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War and he also was a war correspondent before moving to Cuba, where he wrote
“ THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA “ in 1952. In 1954 he was awarded to the Nobel Price for Literature  and after a long period of serious illness he shot himself in Idaho.
Something about Hemingway`s Style:
He is unlike his contemporaries, because he wrote things simply ( - ) . He stripped the language to its essentials and cut out unnecessary words. The sentences are very short, with few adjectives and adverbs. And  nouns and verbs are concrete and frequently repeated. He once said in a passage from Death in the Afternoon:
“ I found the greatest difficulty, beside from knowing what you really felt, rather than what you were supposed to fell, and had been taught to feel, was to put down what really happened in action: what the actual things where which produced the emotions you experienced....the real thing.....
The reader is able to visualise the situation and emotion for himself. It is also said that you have to read between the lines when you read a story from Ernest Hemingway .
His theory is that  you only understand 1/8 when you read a story.
Now I do like to present a story from Ernest Hemingway, she is called:


The story is about an American boy and a girl who are sitting in a bar and talking about abortion. They are waiting for their train, which comes in 40 minutes.
It is very hot and so they sit outside and drink some beer. There is a magnificent few opposite them. The girl looks the whole time at the line of hills and she says that they look like whit elephants.
The American  is not really interested what the girl is saying.
Later they taste another beer and the girl says that it tastes like liquorice, she says that everything tastes  like liquorice. They are speaking about drinks, white elephants and the things they have waited so long for but even though  it is not a good conversation at all. She says that they could have everything, but he does not agree with her because he thinks that if you once take it away you will never get  it back. Things are like the white elephants the girl says, you like them or not, but he does not worry about things , because they are the way they are.
He only wants her best, because he does not want her to do anything she does not want to do. Then he goes to the other side of the station to take the bags there. When he comes back he asks her, how she feels and she says that she is fine.

   + The Oxford campaign to English Literature
   + The Readers campaign to the twentieth century

I’m of the opinion that Ernest Hemingway has found out one of the important things, that if you read a story , you should read between the lines. I’m sure that it is important but it is really very difficult. You really have to think about :” what is going on at the moment” – and that is why I think that many people do not read Hemingway.

For many people he is to difficult, not he ,only his texts. All in all his style is really good and I also think that he must have been a  very intelligent  person. And a Casanova!!!

Andrea Meichenitsch