Farewell to arms: Psychology and Paradox in Hemmingway's Life and Death

Essay, 2010
15 Pages


Declaration of copyrights

Except as noted, the information below applies to Talabér Jânos such as this essay, which is defined as his own product of mind. All texts, images, logos and information contained in this essay is the intellectual property of the writer, unless otherwise registered and are protected under the laws. The writer declares that he has not violated the copyrights of other authors and publishers, he avoided plagiarism and that all the things except for notes are the production of his own intellectuality.

I. Introduction

One might find it strange that we are planning to write about Hemmingway and his obsession with guns. However, we personally believe that everything in connection with great American as well as British writers might be terrible interesting and relevant. We have been in touch with American English for more than 20 years now, and have carried out some research in field of US language and civilization. Thus we find it very interesting to deal with one of the greatest writers in American literature history. He is not only one among the greatest idols, but he is also one of the most mysterious ones. Many people (Fiedler, 1975) believe that all his life and even death was of mystery. Some others even go so far that they suppose he did not kill himself, and it was a mere accident while he was cleaning his shot gun. In our small essay we would like to unveil this mystery, or at least we would intend to find solutions for many unanswered questions. Is his small piece of work a forerunner of something that has never been properly answered? Could we assume that our aim is only to summon the ideas, facts and files around this phenomenon, and we would gradually set up a diagnosis for Hemmingway’s status of mind? What roles did weapons have in his life? He said farewell to arms several times (and also he was expressing his crave for peace all in his life), still he had a wide collection of shotguns and he was obsessed with using them during hunting “expeditions”. Was he then a genius or a mentally disabled person? We might state that a genius is usually disabled as well. However, can we prove this throughout a short essay? At least we would try it. So dear reader, stay tuned!

II. Hemmingway’s life and his first meeting with guns

Ernest Hemingway was bom in 1899, in a suburb of Chicago. His father was a medical doctor and his mother was a musician. Both of the parents were well-respected in their hometown. The parents married in 1896, and soon was Hemmingway born who got this name according to the Bible, like being “earnest”, and which he had never liked as he later noted. The reason for this was that he saw Wilde’s work and ideas in his name (eg. The Importance of Being Earnest), which later was really expressed by him. Also as Reynold (2000) notes might be traced in his hatred for homosexuality, since he would always state that the virtue of masculinity is heterosexuality. Moreover, others also go so far that they state Hemmingway not only hated his name, but he also used to hate his mother. Since his mother performed in concerts around the village, she had little time to spend with his son. And even when she would have had the chance of playing with him, she forced small Ernest to learn playing the cello.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Little Earnie, the first boy baby of the family (1899)

Hemmingway became so upset by this that he started to hate his mother. On the contrary, he himself confessed later that he mirrored her mother’s energy and enthusiasm. This is the step where we might stop to ponder for a bit. Psychologically, he became introverted and frustrated in his early childhood, since he had bad relation to his mother, and he did not even talk to his father either. Moreover, his mother used to dress him up in girlish clothes which also led to the failure of his personality (Baker, 1969). That might have led to his unfaithful behavior with women, and also to his severe alcoholism. On the other had, these failures might have led to his great crave for exploring things. Furthermore, as the family owned a summer home in Michigan, Hemingway was granted the opportunity to learn to hunt, fish and camp in the woods and lakes of Northern Michigan. This was the time when he started to become obsessed with machinery and guns. Thus, if we were to define the beginning time of his machinery (gun) obsession, we have to date this in around 1910, when small Hemmingway was about 10 years old. He soon fell in love with hunting, and then he became a fan of guns. Later, when he was around eighteen years old, he bought his first gun. However, he could not enjoy hunting with it for long, since he was called in the war.

III. “Hello to arms, farewell to war”

During the war he was working for the Red Cross. He was driving the ambulance and there he had to face with death itself. He himself also wounded, he managed to rescue an Italian soldier hit at the front line. For this deed, he was awarded the Italian Silver Medal of Bravery in 1918. In his memoir he remembers that one could only feel death is he experienced it or he himself had already killed someone (Baker, 1969). After his knees being operated on, Hemmingway’s was sent home. He had no jobs, and it was very hard for him to readjust to people and home. Thus, he went to Canada, where he was offered ajob as a reporter (report writer).


Excerpt out of 15 pages


Farewell to arms: Psychology and Paradox in Hemmingway's Life and Death
University of Debrecen  (Regnum-M Educational Co. / University of Debrecen)
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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711 KB
Regnum-M Educational Co.
Farewell, Psychology, Paradox, Hemmingway, Life, Death
Quote paper
Janos Talaber (Author), 2010, Farewell to arms: Psychology and Paradox in Hemmingway's Life and Death, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/163128


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