The Snows of Kilimanjaro Questions and Answers
by Ernest Hemingway

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How does Hemingway represent the female gender in "The Snows of Kilimanjaro"?

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Olen Bruce eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Over the years, there have been different critical interpretations of Helen in "The Snows of Kilimanjaro." Edmund Wilson saw her as an emasculating force who had taken away all of Harry's drive and motivation so that he is no longer able to write. Wilson's view is in line with that of Harry himself, who refers to Helen as a "rich bitch." Harry's life of comfort, made possible by his wife's money, has dulled his senses and made him unable to write.

However, more recent critics have found that Helen is the stronger and more generous of the couple (see the article by Whitlow in the "sources" below). As Harry is dying, he continually snipes at Helen and is cruel to her to the point of being abusive, while she, genuinely caring, tries to make him feel at ease. He perhaps feels badly about himself because he is the weaker and less admirable of the two. While he complains and says nasty things to her, Helen shoots game and tries to give Harry courage to survive. She can do traditionally...

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Jason Lulos eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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