Ernest Miller Hemingway

Ernest Miller Hemingway was a great contributor of literal work in the USA through his work as a journalist and an America n writer. He lived in the years 1899-1961 and in the course of the sixty two years he traveled widely and wrote a lot of stories and books. Beginning at first in the battle fields as a nineteen year old that is in the WW1 based in Spain and later moving to Italy and France before returning home. These countries contributed a lot to his literary work and most of his work was founded on the information of these three countries.

Through out his life he collected a number of literary awards such as the Pulitzer award in 1953 and a Nobel Prize a year after. The major setbacks in his life were his addiction to alcohol and not so talked about state of depression which may have led to his death through suicide.

However his works are considered alongside those of great literal icons such as Shakespeare.

Criticism of these works are based on several aspects some from his depiction of gender issues, others on nationality where the argument follows t hat he did more of foreign countries as opposed to his native country and other aspects of criticism are his political inclinations in his books especially on the Cuban revolution of 1959 where he is said to be a strong supporter of Fidel Castro.(Fleming 2001).

His great works

The list below may not be exhaustive as I only will feature the most talked about works thought is said that most of his writings were not published even after his death. Thus it is important to note that his writings are well beyond the few I will note here:-

Ernest Miller Hemingway

To whom the b ell tolls (1939), Across the river and into the tree (1950), The old man and the sea (1950), others include The garden of Eden, Farewell to the arms, Death in the afternoon, Winner take nothing, Big two hearted rivers, To have or to have not and The dangerous summer.(Fleming 2001).


Gender Inclinations

One of the major criticisms of Hemingway is his single dimensional look of the female gender in his work. The argument here is that he tends to alienate women in the course of his work which is not supposed to be a point of criticism according to many analysts as they argue the subject of a writers work is supposed to stem from his ideas and should entirely be based on his views and thoughts and at the end of the day he is supposed to decide what appeals to him as a writer. Many critics have also pointed the depiction of women as not very important in his writings,

An analysis of this can be found in his story “Indian camp” he revolves the story around Dr Adams and a woman in labor, the point of criticism is that the view of the story is to depict the pain of the woman during delivery which I note is not taken positively, but a closer examination of the story indicates the theme of the story is Dr Adams failure to make a “worthwhile man out of his boy”.

A continued study of the story indicates the man’s in ability to stand up when it matters, this inadequacy leads him to committing suicide when his wife undergoes a live caesarean, and this at the end depicts the woman’s strength which in a great way supersedes that of the man. Such is the misguided look that these critics base their argument on, thus the gender argument to me is founded on inadequate study and understanding of the content of Hemingway’s work.

Ernest Miller Hemingway

Other articles that may contrast the critics stand include the “Hills like white elephants” where the writer empathy is clearly on the girl. (Creighton 2000).


Another point of criticism for Hemingway work was his strong criticism through his books of people they had worked with earlier or those they differed with on opinion or view. To discuss this analysis is on Hemingway story “A Room on the Garden Side” which is based on the activities in Paris, France. The main point of focus is friend Malraux whom he had met earlier in the battlefields and used to fly combat crafts in Spanish missions; he also derived writing passion from him and is considered one of his earlier inspirations.

Hemingway is said to have later broken ranks with Malraux after the later differed with the writer on the view of the Republicans whom Malraux considered to be corrupt and malicious after they killed his friend. On the other hand Hemingway was a strong supporter of the Republicans and he dismissed Malraux as a coward, this led to bad blood between them this is reflected in Hemingway “A Room on the Garden Side” where he writes….a real soldier who put on uniforms

gotten from dead American troops. This is taken to refer to Malraux by the critics who dismiss it as unpleasant and unfair for the writer to ridicule a friend and a mentor in such scale, this the critics argue may also have stemmed from jealous as Malraux had earlier on launched a Spanish novel L’Espoir. The launch of the “For Whom the Bell Tolls” was seen as a move to counter the success of Malraux book which is another point of criticism.(Susan 1992).


The other point of criticism for Hemingway work was his use of strong language though this was not until his works became subject to scholars analysis and study in various academic levels, In the beginning the stand was that most of his work was for the common people who sought to

Ernest Miller Hemingway

understand more o the literature world but with time he started writing short stories which have been used in most institutions as study material in the course of their literature reviews, an example of this strong language is in his story the “Garden of Eden” where he states …….it is

natural for such suckers to suck their cocks. This has led to subsequent reviews of some of these stories again something that has been subject to criticisms with the literature analysts as well as the immediate family being opposed to the idea as they wish to have the initial message intended by the writer to b e put across as it was, retention of the original writers thoughts and ideas.

It would not be complete to discuss most of these criticisms without examination of some of the most recognizable criticisms of Hemingway, one of such is one written by Philip Young in his book “A Reconsideration” which was published in 1966. In this book Philip proposes that the author’s life was and art were motivated by the trauma of his wounding in his earlier days in the battle front (World War I) he equates Hemingway with the shell-shocked Nick Adams of “A Way You’ll Never Be” and views the author’s many fictive elements of courage and violence as repeated attempts to master the terrifying, primal scene of his heir days wounded in the battle fields. (David 2000).

From the Wound theory Philip a com bat veteran himself developed a notion of Hemingway “code”: A ‘grace under pressure’…..made of controls of honor and courage which in a life of

tension and pain make a man and distinguish him from the people who follow random impulses, let down their hair, and are generally messy, perhaps cowardly, and without inviolable rules for how to live holding tight.”

In Young’s view, this view, this theme is always introduced and exemplified in Hemingway’s fiction by a “code hero”, a consistent character embodying the values of the code.

Like theorists Young provided a persuasive and enlightening way to read Hemingway’s entire output. At the same time, the entire idea of code hero would smother the originality of lesser critics and stifle alternative views for a long time. (Blythe 2000).

Ernest Miller Hemingway

In the 1960’s there came a generation of writers who focused more on the opinion makers than creators of their own work such are the writers that came up with the main points of criticism for Hemingway’s work they dealt more with the death of minorities and the perceived negative portrayal of women, probably the most significant negative influence on Hemingway’s critical reputation today. When potential readers reject Hemingway as indifferent minorities and hostile to women, they are often responding not to Hemingway’s fiction, but so to the indifference and hostility of some of his early critics, and a negative image of the author those influential first admirers unintentionally projected. Just as Young’s notion of the code hero made it hard for subsequent critics to approach Hemingway in any other fashion, s o the unconscious and deliberate biases of some early readers would make it hard for some subsequent readers to approach Hemingway at all. (David 98).

The 1960’s were also marked with an explosion of Hemingway biographies. The marriages, the globe trotting, the wars, the adventures, and finally thee tragic mystery of the suicide were irresistible. Hemingway’s death ironically meant that public fascination with his inimitable life could now be indulged to the fullest. (Theodore 1999).

The writers on Hemingway criticism have mainly been teachers and tutors who in the course of tutorage have made the same books famous. In any case the stand of critics have hand negligible impact on the success of Hemingway’s book in fact they have popularized them.


Blythe, T (2000). “Rewriting the self against the National text: Ernest Hemingway’s ‘The Garden

Ernest Miller Hemingway

of Eden’. Winter.

Creighton, L (2000). “Hemingway’s Nexus of Pastoral and Tragedy.”CLA journal 43, no.4 page 454-478.

David, G (1998). “Hemingway’s ‘Hills Like White Elephant’, Studies in short Fiction. Summer.

Fleming, R. (2001). “Ernest Hemingway” The literally encyclopedia p/speople.php?rec=true&UID=2077

accessed September 23, 2009.

Matthew, S (2000). “Ernest Hemingway and World War I: Papers on Language and Literature, Spring.

Robert, F (2001). An Introduction to Ernest Hemingway. Literary encyclopedia.

Susan, B (1992). “A room on the garden side”. Hemingway Unpublished liberation of Paris. Fall.

Susan, B (1993). “Howard Pyle’s book of pirates”. Studies in short fiction. Fall

Theodore, G (1999). “Hemingway’s debt to Cezanne.” Twentieth Century Literature. Spring.

Toni, D (1999).”The critical reception-Through time.” In one man alone: Hemingway and To Have and To Have Not” University Press of America.