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What is some information about the historical time in which Ernest Hemingway was...

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hannah555 | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted September 23, 2010 at 9:25 PM via web

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What is some information about the historical time in which Ernest Hemingway was alive, and how did it affect his work?

What is some information about the historical time in which Ernest Hemingway was alive, and how did it affect his work?

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted September 24, 2010 at 7:47 AM (Answer #2)

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The most profound affect upon his work related to the historical era in which Hemingway lived derives from his experiences in World War II. Before the war, in high school in Oak Park, Illinois, Hemingway wrote short stories and poems, which helped him secure a job after high school graduation as a reporter with the Kansas City Star. After war broke out, Hemingway became a military driver for the Red Cross. He was stationed on the Italian front where his enthusiasm to fully experience events unfolding around him led him into dangerous situations which garnered him his first encounters with war deaths and severe shrapnel wounds leading to an extended stay in an Italian Red Cross hospital. These war experiences are what gives Hemingway so many of his story lines, and they form the basis of Hemingway's heroes who are soldiers, expatriates, unlucky in love, and when necessary fierce defenders of their principles.

The most profound affect upon his work related to personal experiences that unfolded within the surroundings of war and its aftermath, were two romantic involvements. The first was a love for his nurse at the Red Cross Hospital who ended their liaison after he was discharged and returned to Oak Park. It is said he never completely overcame the emotional damage done by losing her. While he was a reporter for the Toronto Star following the war, he met the next most influential love in his life. Hemingway married Hadley Richards, who was older than Hemingway by eight years, in 1921. With her Hemingway moved to Paris where he became part of the expatriate cloister of writers who had gathered in Paris to escape the sorrows of the war-torn world. There he was mentored by notable writers like Gertrude Stein, F.Scott Fitzgerald and Sherwood Anderson, who were in Paris in 1921 as well. It was in Paris that he learned about the craft of fiction writing and, with the mentoring of these notable writers, found his unique authorial voice and his sparse stripped-down style.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 27, 2010 at 8:13 PM (Answer #3)

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The renowned critic, Harold Bloom, wrote that Ernest Hemingway was "a minor novelist" with "a major style." His biographical piece, The Moveable Feast captures how Hemingway perceived the world in which he moved.  Yet, this feast was not always so joyous as Hemingway and others of "the lost generation" became disillusioned with the world after having experienced world wars with its brutality and the Jazz Age with its frivolity, hedonism, and materialism.  His great delusions are often minimalized by his cryptic journalistic style.

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 12, 2012 at 10:11 PM (Answer #4)

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I agree with the posts above and I'd like to discuss Hemingway's disillusion with the modern world. 

Hemingway's protagonists from his novels are always bound to a code, a set of behavior principles that ensure that he (it's always a "he") will not slip into anundignified or dishonorable state. 

I wonder if this rule-setting in his fiction was Hemingway's defensive response against a culture and a world that he felt was growing less honorable and less certain that honor was an important quality. Maybe he wished he lived in an earlier time, when people saw themselves as beholden to a different standard.

Or maybe he just wished he was a better person and the rules had more to do with personal ideals than with cultural or historic commentary.  

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