The Snows of Kilimanjaro Questions and Answers
by Ernest Hemingway

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In Hemingway's "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," what purpose do you think the flashbacks serve? Why does Harry pretend to hate Helen (or does he truly hate her)? How does Harry show the signs of a man recovering from having been in bloody combat in World War I, and does that add an extra level of meaning to the story? You may also consider any examples of irony in the short story.

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The flashbacks in "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" show how Harry, dying of an infected leg wound in Africa, mentally processes the fact that he is going to die, and the effect of that realization on his consciousness. The flashbacks, indicated in the story by italic print, are part of Harry's reflection on his life and how he lived it. In the flashback sections, Harry frequently expresses regret that he did not write more often: "He knew at least twenty good stories from out there and he had never written one. Why?" Through the flashbacks, the readers see Harry gradually come to terms with his situation.

In the final flashback scene, just before he dies, Harry remembers an officer from his time in World War I who was struck by a German bomb and begged to be shot. He recalls an argument "about our Lord never sending you anything you could not bear and someone's theory had been that meant that at a certain time the pain passed you out automatically. " After he breaks from this reverie, he tells...

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