The Snows of Kilimanjaro, and Other Stories Analysis

Ernest Hemingway

The Stories

(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

“The Snows of Kilimanjaro” centers on the memories of a dying writer named Harry. On safari in Africa, he has been wounded and has developed an infection. Waiting around to die, he thinks about the past years of his life. He regrets that he did not accomplish more as a writer and realizes that he let himself get lazy. Part of Harry’s reason for going on safari had been to discipline himself. Though he and his wife have been to many great places and have had wonderful experiences, Harry has been swept up in the empty world of the wealthy, forgetting that it was his experiences with poor and interesting people that first awakened his desire to write. Harry fights with his wife, recognizing that she drove him to a life of decadence. He dies, and his soul flies to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, the House of God.

In “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” two waiters (one old and one young) are at a café late at night, waiting on an old man who has recently attempted suicide. The young waiter wants to close up and get on with his night. He does not understand why the old man will not leave. The old waiter is kind to the old man and understands why he is there. He understands that the old man wants to avoid the darkness, that he needs the safety and security of a well-lit café.

“A Day’s Wait” focuses on Schatz, a nine-year-old boy who has a fever of 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Confusing the Fahrenheit and Celsius temperature scales, the boy believes that he is going to die. He lives with the “knowledge” of his impending death all day, until his father tells him that he is merely sick and will survive.

“The Gambler, the Nun, and the Radio”...

(The entire section is 688 words.)


(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

Benson, Jackson J., ed. New Critical Approaches to the Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1991. Identifies mastery of the short-story form as Hemingway’s greatest literary accomplishment. Gives an overview of criticism written on Hemingway’s short fiction from the mid-1970’s to the late 1980’s.

Broer, Lawrence, ed. Hemingway and Women: Female Critics and the Female Voice. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2004. Collection of essays that focus on—among other things—Hemingway’s most important female characters, including several key figures from the ten stories collected in The Snows of Kilimanjaro, and Other Stories.

Flora, Joseph M. Ernest Hemingway: A Study of the Short Fiction. Boston: Twayne, 1989. A comprehensive overview of Hemingway’s short fiction, including detailed analyses of every significant story. Includes interviews, essays, memoirs, and other biographical materials. Also includes a representative selection of critical responses, a comprehensive primary bibliography, and a selected bibliography of important criticism.

_______. Reading Hemingway’s “Men Without Women”: Glossary and Commentary. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 2008. Hemingway’s Men Without Women features three of the stories—“The Killers,” “Fifty Grand,” and “In Another Country”—later collected in The Snows of Kilimanjaro, and Other Stories. Flora provides excellent, relevant commentary on these three stories.

Gajdusek, Robert E. “Purgation/Debridement as Therapy/Aesthetics.” Hemingway Review 4, no. 2 (Spring, 1985): 12-17. Focuses on debriding and purging as thematic-stylistic devices in Hemingway’s work. Considers art as a form of purgation and pays special attention to “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” as an exercise in psychic therapy.

Smith, Paul, ed. New Essays on Hemingway’s Short Fiction. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998. An overview of Hemingway’s career as a short-story writer. Includes a selected bibliography designed to equip readers with the most valuable resources for the study of Hemingway’s short fiction.