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In "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," does Harry love his wife, despite his saying that he...

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mimi07 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted February 17, 2009 at 3:39 PM via web

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In "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," does Harry love his wife, despite his saying that he does not love her?

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 17, 2009 at 8:17 PM (Answer #1)

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Harry does not love his wife. He treats her less harshly as he approaches death, but he does not love her. At some point in their marriage, "the woman" became for Harry both the cause and the symbol of his professional failure. He blames her for his own betrayal of his profession. Harry is a writer who sold out, choosing to live the life of the wealthy and the privileged that he despised. The more Harry loathes himself, the more he punishes his wife. He hates her money; he hates her social class. Most of all, he hates himself for abandoning his work and becoming a part of her world.

Harry is aware that he treats his wife with contempt. At one point, he recognizes that "he had been cruel and unjust" earlier. When he realizes he will die, Harry examines the truth about his marriage to "the woman":

He had never quarrelled much with this woman, while with the women that he loved he had quarrelled so much they had finally, always, with the corrosion of the quarrelling, killed what they had together.

Harry and his wife had not lost their love for each other. She loved him, but he had never loved her.

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