Joe Smith

Ms. Johnson

Period 4

22 May 2000

Suicide Lurks Over the Horizon

Many people say that Ernest Hemingway’s stature within the view of the public has only increased since his death, proving that his work has endured the test of time. In many minds of Americans who are familiar with Hemingway, he was a man of contrast and contradictions. Simply put, Americans have this theory of Hemingway because he stood for rugged individualism through his manly, brutish nature yet he committed suicide. However, in all honesty this notion is false. At first, agreeance with the majority was easy because it seemed logical but after reanalyzing Hemingway’s works, it’s definitive that Hemingway conversed with the world through his characters. Hemingway was trapped within the image he created for himself. He talked through his writing but he wasn’t being heard nor understood. The foreshadowing of Hemingway’s suicide was submerged throughout his writing but nobody could dive so deep in order to hear what he was saying until it was too late.

Hemingway is clearly thought to be a higher and more prominent figure proceeding his death than he was as a tangible, animated person on Earth. During his prime years Hemingway created a "mythic persona" yet certain stature for himself (Nagel 1). He "defined manliness" but not solely through what he wrote, what he said, and what he expressed, but also through what he did: fishing for elusive gamefish from trout to tarpon and marlin, hunting to life threatening extremes for highly prized game, watching bullfights with a "discerning eye", being a women’s man, dominating his nemeses, and pursuing all wars for the benefit of his nation (Valiunas 77). However, this claim to fame personality of Hemingway is what drove him six feet under. He built up such a recollected and admirable prestige to himself that there was no backing down. "Without the man who wanted to feel every thrilling sensation he could, the writer who sought immortality would have been utterly a loss" (77). Basically, he was a fake, a phony, a false identity. Hemingway trapped himself into an unwanted status amongst the public through the means of the media. It’s as if Hemingway was grabbed and thrown into an air tight cell where there was no way out but
through the taking of his own life.

Within just seven years of earning one of the most well known and prestigious awards within the field of literature, Hemingway took his own life (Gerard 254). He was portrayed as a man who desired immortality but later realized that he must go head to head, or gun to head is a better description, with the lack of eternity each day (254). It was "a suicide interpreted as the culmination of his belief in taking responsibility for his own life, even the termination of it" (Nagel 1). Hemingway suffered from severe depression and physical decline. His memory was depleted through electric shock therapy that he endured after hospitalization in the Mayo Clinic. On July 2, 1961, at the age of sixty two, Hemingway took his favorite shotgun, put the barrel of the gun to his head, and proceeded to pull the trigger (Gerard 254).

From that dreary day in history to present day, Hemingway has grown in the eyes and minds of people across the world. Hemingway’s "life certified the value of his art. But his art also proved the value of his life" (Valiunas 77). His simplistic and precise writing style, pathway to literature freedom, and hard core devotion to the humanities has left a permanent incision on the world of literature. In his works, Hemingway was immensely influential because of the aspects of modern life that he wrote about. "Hemingway’s reputation and influence will forever rest on an uneasy blending of the myth of his personal adventures with the artistic merit of his best fiction" (Nagel 2). Many of his novels and short stories depict a universe that is engulfed of insensitivity, violence, and corruption. His main characters are all scarred both "physically and psychologically" by trying to find guidance within their lives (1). This is one of the main reasons that Hemingway’s devotion to literature is still appreciated as some of the best literary work ever produced. Almost any