In "Across the River and Into the Woods," what are the 4 things in his life a man must do to demonstrate his manhood?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The four things that a man must do in his life to demonstrate his manhood according to Hemingway are to live life to the fullest, love passionately, kill cleanly, and die courageously.  The main character in the novel Across the River and into the Trees, Colonel Richard Cantwell, engages in all of these things during the course of the narrative, which covers the last three days of his life.  Even though he knows he is dying, Cantwell spends his last days doing what he loves best.  He goes duck hunting in a partially frozen lagoon in Venice, helping the boatsman pole through the ice, setting up his own decoys, and cleanly shooting down the first two ducks that fly through his range.  He also spends time with his mistress, making love with her in a gondola.  After reminiscing about his very eventful life which spans two world wars, he experiences a series of heart attacks and knows that the end is near.  Accepting his fate without complaint, he retires to the back seat of the car,locks the door, and dies quietly alone.

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Across the River and into the Trees

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