Tom Wolfe Questions and Answers

Start Your Free Trial

How would you compare the difference in ambitions between Wolfe's writer in "Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine" and Hemingway's writer in The Snows of Kilimanjaro, relating to Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine by Tom Wolfe?

Expert Answers info

Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write5,917 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Business

In a way it is unjust to compare the writer in Hemingway's "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" with the writer in Wolfe "Mauve Gloves & Madmen" since Hemingway's fictional Harry is an existential writer of fiction representing angst and destruction while Wolfe's writer of non-fiction is the object of mild ridicule through light satire. Harry thinks of living and dying and of how too much passion kills what one wants to cherish while Wolfe's unnamed writer thinks about the accumulating dollar signs going "chunk" into his calculator and about superfluities that have become necessities, each with its appealing collection of dollar signs.

While Wolfe's writer is preparing for the act of putting "a piece of paper in the typewriter [to] start on page 1 of a new book, with that horrible arthritic siege--writing a book!--stretching out ahead of him," Hemingway's writer is preparing for never writing again, a great sorrow to him since he has saved the best things to write about until he had the skill to write about them well. While one counts class status dollar signs, the other counts events that will never be told and which should be told because he--probably he alone--has seen the changes that accompany the events:

... he would always write it finally. There was so much to write. he had seen the world change; not just the events; although he had seen many of them and had watched people, but he had seen the subtler change and he could remember how people were at different times. (Hemingway)

Harry's now lost and unfulfilled ambition is to write about what is subtle and real about life while Wolfe's writer's ambition seems to be to have what he writes about American society recognized by America's major magazines.

it lifts his spirits a bit to know that both The Atlantic and Playboy have expressed an interest ... there's not a magazine in America that wouldn't publish something from this book! (Wolfe)

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial