A Moveable Feast Essay - Critical Essays

Analysis

In the preface to A Moveable Feast, Hemingway states that, “if the reader prefers, this book may be regarded as fiction.” In many ways, the book is factual, but in many other respects Hemingway fictionalizes his experiences. A Moveable Feast is composed of stories and sketches about Hemingway’s life, and he admits that he by no means included all of his experiences in Paris, even all the important ones. Hemingway wrote A Moveable Feast near the end of his career, looking back to a time and place that he considered instrumental in his development. The work is more of a documentation of Hemingway’s search for an identity as an individual and as an artist than it is a traditional autobiography.

Hemingway includes more than simply portraits of Paris and scenes from his life there. A Moveable Feast contains many biographical sketches about figures from the literary community. For example, in a chapter entitled “Miss Stein Instructs,” Hemingway remembers a visit to Gertrude Stein’s apartment. He describes Stein in great detail, including her physical appearance and accounts of their conversations about art and literature. Another of the more famous biographical sketches about Fitzgerald includes a comic account of their journey from Lyon to Paris.

Hemingway punctuates A Moveable Feast with moments of vivid sensuality. He writes about the smell of rain in the autumn in a particular square in Paris, and he recounts with minute detail the unique taste of a certain variety of oysters. This book is not specifically intended for young adult readers, but it is appropriate and interesting for such an audience because such descriptions bring foreign places and cultures to life.

A Moveable Feast also introduces young readers to a period in history that is of great significance in the study of American literature. Although Hemingway’s biographical sketches are not entirely accurate, they...

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