Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Ernest Hemingway’s Death in the Afternoon is a personal examination of bullfighting in Spain during the 1920’s and 1930’s. Hemingway began visiting Spain in the summer of 1923 and quickly became involved in the world of bullfighting. He stayed in the same hotels, ate in the same restaurants, and drank in the same bars as the matadors. He followed them as they performed in different cities. Eventually, he began making annual trips to Pamplona, where bullfights were held in connection with the religious festival of San Fermín. Pamplona became the setting for the climactic scenes of The Sun Also Rises (1926).
Drawing on this background, Hemingway attempts in Death in the Afternoon to celebrate “the modern Spanish bullfight” and to explain it “both emotionally and practically” for an audience of Americans. Hemingway assumes that his readers may be disgusted by the idea of bullfighting, but he wants them to give him the opportunity to show them what it is all about before they arrive at a judgment.
Death in the Afternoon is more than a book about bullfighting, however. The book is as much a book about Hemingway as it is a book about bullfighting. It is filled with his perceptions, his experiences, and his way of looking at life. So much of the information given in the book is autobiographical that it must be read in order to understand the life of Hemingway.
Chapter 1 begins with a...
(The entire section is 1455 words.)
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