In ‘‘The Snows of Kilimanjaro,’’ Ernest Hemingway presents the story of a writer at the end of his life. While on a safari in Africa, Harry, the protagonist, is scratched on the leg by a thorn, and the infection becomes gangrenous and eventually kills him. Where most of Hemingway’s stories feature protagonists who speak little and reflect nothing at all about their motivations and inner lives, in this story, the main character ‘‘sees his life flash before his eyes’’ as he realizes that he is dying. Many readers have seen Harry as a self-portrait of Hemingway himself. Reading the story this way, the reader can look into Hemingway’s struggles with himself: his insecurities, his machismo, his need and disdain for women. But it is not necessary to read the story through the lens of Hemingway’s biography. The story is a gripping look at a man who is facing death and regretting many of the choices he has made in his life, as well as being a memorable glimpse inside the head of a writer who is reflecting on his craft and the demands it has made on him.
Did this raise a question for you?