Ernest Hemingway: The Paradox of a Full and Empty Life
Ernest Hemingway was what you call a “Man’s Man”, and he did just about everything. He was a traveler, a soldier, a sportsman, a fisherman, a great adventurer. And he made his living as a daring young dashing foreign correspondent living as an ex patriot in France and Spain and as a fiction writer.
He led a full life, but ironically, Hemingway was also empty enough inside and depressed enough to end his own life in suicide, as did six other members of his immediate family, including a sister, with a self inflicted gunshot wound with a shot gun. And his sparse, unadorned minimalist style of writing aptly reflected the emptiness within him and the emptiness he saw in the lives of other ex patriots living in Europe. He wrote his novels in a typical journalist style and captured the depravity of his morally failing characters in typical journalistic dialogue using short, quip-like quotes such as these in his short story about Madrid entitled The Capital of the World about the life of a second rate matador is is sexually harassing a chamber maid.
…The sister of Paco had gotten out of the embrace of the matador…”These are hungry people. A failed bullfighter. With your tonload of fear. If you have so much of that, use it in the ring.”
“That is the way a whore talks.”
“A whore is also a woman, but I am not a whore.”
“You’ll be one,”
“Not through you.” …
‘Leave me”… “You dirty little whore.”
Hemingway loved Spain and bullfighting.
Hemingway was born Ernest Miller Hemingway in Oak Park, Illinois to an average middle class family on July 21, 1899 and attended public school, but upon graduation from high school he elected not to attend college but to start his career as a newspaper reporter immediately after graduation. When WWI broke out he was rejected by the Army, Navy and Marines because he suffered with poor eyesight, so he opted to become a volunteer ambulance driver and was severely wounded while serving in Italy and where he also saw much suffering and bloody carnage and later he wrote about picking up the little pieces of human remains. He also survived two plane crashes while in Africa in 1952; the man no doubt suffered from Post Traumatic Stress disorder.
All in all this prolific writer wrote seven novels with such famous titles as The Old Man and the Sea and The Sun Also Rises, a book that gives us an apt description the follies of of a group of American ex patriots living strictly for pleasure in Paris, six short story collections and two books in the nonfiction genre. Hemingway was a wildly popular writer that had a multi generational appeal and won both the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for literature. But he was not so popular with the US government because he chose to live in Cuba during WWII and he was suspected by the FBI as being a spy for the Soviet Union during the Cold War. But he finally moved home to the USA and died in Ketchum, Idaho on July 2, 1961 by his own town, and his famous, super-model granddaughter Mariel Hemingway followed him also followed him in suicide. Mental illness ran in the family.
He both lived and died big, and he was also married a total of four times in the fashion of a man who was larger than life.