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fanuzzir
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Re: Hemingway and Women



bentley wrote I was wondering also about his relationship with Fitzgerald and some of the comments that he made about him and F. Scott's looks which reminded me in a way of the description that Wilson was making of Francis. .




Great question! In Moveable Feast, Hemingway has absolutely no respect for Fitzgerald as a man infatuated with his wife. He clearly distrusts Zelda for what he thinks she is doing to Scott's work, and implicitly presents himself as a monastic methodical artist who will keep to his discipline and schedule. So I think overwhelming romantic love made him suspicious.
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fanuzzir
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Re: Hemingway and Women (Up In Michigan)

Just to let you know that I'm following these posts closely and enjoying them immensely. You've found a mine of gender attitudes and characterizations in these two stories. I'll jump in as soon as I clear away some pressing duties. . .
Bob
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Re: Hemingway and Women

Zelda didn't like Hemingway either, it is a well known fact there was a tension between them.

ziki
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bentley
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Re: Hemingway and Women (Up In Michigan)


fanuzzir wrote:
Just to let you know that I'm following these posts closely and enjoying them immensely. You've found a mine of gender attitudes and characterizations in these two stories. I'll jump in as soon as I clear away some pressing duties. . .
Bob




Thanks for both posts..glad you are here to keep us all on track. Look forward to your upcoming comments. Yes, Hemingway seems to have a way with gender attitudes. There is no doubt how he feels.

Again appreciate your taking the time to comment.
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ELee
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Re: Hemingway and Women (Up In Michigan)

Bentley wrote:
“To me, Liz was portrayed as the simple lovesick character who...has latched on to Jim as the man of her dreams...What she got in return is someone who took advantage of her and did not share any of the same feelings she had for him. She mistakenly thought of his advances as love which they were not...”

Liz is neat and clean, with a jolly face and good legs. I think it’s safe to also say she is innocent and uncomplicated. She likes Jim’s darkness: the black hair on his arms and his mustache. She also likes the dramatic contrast of how white his teeth are and how his arms are white above their tanned line. The purity of the black and white that attracts her to “the man of her dreams” is counterpoint to the “shades of gray” that are the reality of life. Liz also likes how much D.J. Smith and Mrs. Smith like Jim. The sanctioning of Jim by the Smiths, who appear to have a reasonably happy marriage (they kiss and hug and go to bed early after the hunting trip), adds to his appeal for Liz and seems to indicate that he would be an acceptable candidate for romance. Unlike the married D.J. Smith who presumably loves his wife, Jim is a “black”Smith whose darkened intentions are reflected in the red (passionate) color of his shop.
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bentley
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Re: Hemingway and Women (Up In Michigan)



ELee wrote:
Bentley wrote:
“To me, Liz was portrayed as the simple lovesick character who...has latched on to Jim as the man of her dreams...What she got in return is someone who took advantage of her and did not share any of the same feelings she had for him. She mistakenly thought of his advances as love which they were not...”

Liz is neat and clean, with a jolly face and good legs. I think it’s safe to also say she is innocent and uncomplicated. She likes Jim’s darkness: the black hair on his arms and his mustache. She also likes the dramatic contrast of how white his teeth are and how his arms are white above their tanned line. The purity of the black and white that attracts her to “the man of her dreams” is counterpoint to the “shades of gray” that are the reality of life. Liz also likes how much D.J. Smith and Mrs. Smith like Jim. The sanctioning of Jim by the Smiths, who appear to have a reasonably happy marriage (they kiss and hug and go to bed early after the hunting trip), adds to his appeal for Liz and seems to indicate that he would be an acceptable candidate for romance. Unlike the married D.J. Smith who presumably loves his wife, Jim is a “black”Smith whose darkened intentions are reflected in the red (passionate) color of his shop.




Elee...very interesting..I never saw the relationship in the name Smith and Jim's trade (that of a blacksmith..terrific. Excellent really. You are right about Hemingway highlighting color etc. in the story.
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The End of Something

[ Edited ]
As has been noted elsewhere, Hemingway’s writing is like an iceberg. Here’s my take on the 80% of The End of Something that is submerged…

Hemingway opens this story with a description of the now defunct mill and town which mirrors a similar decline in the relationship between Nick and Marjorie. From the observations that the mill’s dismantling took place ten years prior and Nick “can just remember” it, we might surmise he is in his late teens and this possibly is his first romance. This story is about the inevitability of change, especially apparent during those years when people transition from children to adults: when anything can change at light speed due to the vacillation inherent to youth. The potential for change is first suggested when Nick and Marjorie troll for trout along the bank “where the bottom dropped off suddenly from sandy shallows to twelve feet of water”. Marjorie, however, is trolling for more than trout. She baits her hook with a reference to “our old ruin” (that she romantically sees “more like a castle”) and casts at Nick. But he, like the trout, does not strike and shows further lack of interest by his comment “They aren’t striking”. Marjorie loves to “fish with Nick” (have a romantic relationship) and not realizing the direction he is headed in, she is intent on her rod and does not “reel in” until the boat touches shore, indicating that she is entirely focused on their relationship and does not want to end it.

When they set the night lines, Hemingway creates a rather bizarre image reflecting Nick’s intention to end the attachment and “release” Marjorie. As she rows out looking back at Nick with the line in her teeth, and he pays out the line from shore, a strange image of fishing-in-reverse is created. She drops the line in when he says to let it go and watches the bait sink. Though Nick seems to be in control when it comes to fishing (and the relationship), and Marjorie’s attitude appears subservient, it is evident that she is the one doing all the work. It is Marjorie who twice rows the boat out to set the lines while Nick remains on shore holding the pole. Nick, lacking the resolve and courage to face Marjorie and end the relationship, becomes irritated and disagreeable and picks a fight. Because she turns away from him and does not confront him, he is able to tell her “back” that “it isn’t fun anymore” and its “as though everything was gone to hell” inside of him. Marjorie is the one strong enough to make a decisive move as she separates herself from him and rows across the water. Just as he was unable to face Marjorie, Nick is now incapable of facing what has just occurred, how he feels about it and what to do next, so he remains in place with his face in the blanket. With Marjorie and their relationship already in the past, and the appearance of Bill suggesting a previous relationship that will take its place in the near future, Nick is isolated in the present moment as he remains untouched by Marjorie or Bill.

The moon, which has connotations regarding women (gender/menses) and water (tides) and is mentioned several times in the story, represents Marjorie’s maturity into womanhood. Nick is the first to observe that there is “going to be a moon tonight” (movement toward maturity) and Marjorie responds happily “I know it”. This is the very core of Nick’s reason for separating from Marjorie, though he does not consciously realize it, and speaks to the disparity that Hemingway felt existed psychologically and emotionally between men and women. Nick’s bickering with Marjorie that she “knows everything” and that he “doesn’t know” acknowledges that he senses she is growing beyond his comprehension and capabilities in her expectations of the relationship's outcome. They do not touch (connect) as they watch the moon rise. Nick continues to watch the moon’s ascent as he finally says “It isn’t fun anymore” and severs the tie between the fun-loving boy and the love-seeking woman.

The physical pathways of the story’s characters also illustrate the changes that bring about “The End of Something”. Marjorie will find her way by water; Nick’s path will continue on the land. At the beginning of the story, they are passing over the line that divides their worlds as they row over the edge of the bank that drops from land and the shallows to deep water. After the separation is complete, Marjorie chooses the [deep] water and rows away in the moonlight to continue growing toward maturity. Not yet ready for a similar pursuit, Nick remains on [shallow] land with his old buddy Bill. Just as the schooner sailed away with everything removable when the Horton's Bay mill closed down, so too Marjorie’s departure in a boat seems to signify that she takes away with her everything that was of value in this relationship.

Message Edited by ELee on 02-18-200706:08 PM

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Re: The End of Something


ELee wrote:
Just as the schooner sailed away with everything removable when the Horton's Bay mill closed down, so too Marjorie’s departure in a boat seems to signify that she takes away with her everything that was of value in this relationship.

Message Edited by ELee on 02-18-200706:08 PM






Very nice Elee...It is sort of symbolic that Nick mentions to Bill in the story The Three Day Blow, "All of a sudden everything was over. I don't know why it was. I couldn't help it. Just like when the three-day blows come now and rip all of the leaves off the trees." When Marjorie left she was like the The Three Day Blow taking everything with her and Nick was left as an empty bare tree.
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Re: Hemingway and Women

So I think overwhelming romantic love made him suspicious.

This accords with the thinking of the 'mother of feminists', Mary Wollstonecraft, who in her Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792) wrote:-

'women must claim their equality by accepting its unemotional dictates. Excessive concern for romantic love and physical desirability, she believed, are not the natural conditions of female existence, but rather the socially imposed means by which male domination enslaves them.'

It could equally be said that romantic love can enslave men.






fanuzzir wrote:


bentley wrote I was wondering also about his relationship with Fitzgerald and some of the comments that he made about him and F. Scott's looks which reminded me in a way of the description that Wilson was making of Francis. .




Great question! In Moveable Feast, Hemingway has absolutely no respect for Fitzgerald as a man infatuated with his wife. He clearly distrusts Zelda for what he thinks she is doing to Scott's work, and implicitly presents himself as a monastic methodical artist who will keep to his discipline and schedule. So I think overwhelming romantic love made him suspicious.


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bentley
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Re: Hemingway and Women


Choisya wrote:
So I think overwhelming romantic love made him suspicious.

This accords with the thinking of the 'mother of feminists', Mary Wollstonecraft, who in her Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792) wrote:-

'women must claim their equality by accepting its unemotional dictates. Excessive concern for romantic love and physical desirability, she believed, are not the natural conditions of female existence, but rather the socially imposed means by which male domination enslaves them.'

It could equally be said that romantic love can enslave men.






fanuzzir wrote:


bentley wrote I was wondering also about his relationship with Fitzgerald and some of the comments that he made about him and F. Scott's looks which reminded me in a way of the description that Wilson was making of Francis. .




Great question! In Moveable Feast, Hemingway has absolutely no respect for Fitzgerald as a man infatuated with his wife. He clearly distrusts Zelda for what he thinks she is doing to Scott's work, and implicitly presents himself as a monastic methodical artist who will keep to his discipline and schedule. So I think overwhelming romantic love made him suspicious.







Very very interesting Choisa..I never read anything by Mary Wollstonecraft but this is an interesting connection you are making. I had to smile trying to imagine Hemingway as monastic....unless the monastery was a convent.
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Re: Hemingway and Women (The Mother Complex)

The Mother Complex [Chapter 1]
*Excerpt from "The Importance of Being Ernest:
Hemingway's Truth in Fiction and His Fiction in Truth"
by Josh Silverstein



This chapter is from a scholarly thesis, and meets the provisions set forth in section 107 of U.S.C. TITLE 17 of Copyright Law, which states that "the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright."



Apart from the discovery of the three psychic zones of the mind, the id, ego and superego, the most famous Freudian theory is the Oedipus complex. Freud explains the origins of the complex in his book, The Ego and the Id:

. . . the boy deals with his father by identifying himself with him. For a time these two relationships [the child's devotion to his mother and identification with his father] proceed side by side, until the boy's sexual wishes in regard to his mother become more intense and his father is perceived as an obstacle to them; from this the Oedipus complex originates.5


As the genital disparities between himself and his mother become evident, the boy deduces that she has been castrated. His own fear of castration creates in him a growing indignation with his father, the newly perceived figure of authority. Coupled with his original sense of masculine identification, the boy develops "a wish to get rid of his father in order to take his place with his mother."6 His feelings of ambivalence are soon directed towards his mother once he identifies her lack of a penis as a distinction of inferiority.

Psychologists are particularly interested in how a boy's hatred for his mother affects his gender identification. In The Reproduction of Mothering: Psychoanalysis and the Sociology of Gender, Nancy Chodorow describes a general truth of both Oedipal and gender identification: "A boy, in order to feel himself adequately masculine, must distinguish and differentiate himself from others in a way that a girl need not--must categorize himself as someone apart. Moreover, he defines masculinity negatively as that which is not feminine and/or connected to women, rather than positively."7 Chodorow also finds that boys and girls experience gender identification differently based on their "personal relationship with their object of identification" (175). Citing the research of Mitscherlich, Slater, Winch, and Lynn,8 she states, "boys develop a positional identification with aspects of the masculine role. For them, the tie between affective processes and role learning is broken" (175). A girl, on the other hand, "can develop a personal identification with her mother, because she has a real relationship with her that grows out of their early primary tie. She learns what it is to be womanlike in the context of this personal identification with her mother" (175).

Like many boys in the embryonic stage of their Oedipal crisis (which Freud situated around age five), Ernest Hemingway struggled through the process of gender identification. His difficulties appear to have been perpetuated by the peculiar gender-oriented behavior of his parents. Kenneth Lynn has described Dr. Clarence Edmonds Hemingway as a "marvelous marksmen with both shotgun and rifle, an accomplished fisherman, a master of every technique for surviving in a wilderness."9 Dr. Hemingway's separation from emasculating feminine forces and his passionate pursuit of the frontier life characterized him as a "muscular Christian," a vision of masculinity widely upheld by a nineteenth-century society and strongly influenced by literature of the day, notably Tom Hughes's Tom Brown's School Days at Rugby.

Clarence tried to instill similar "muscular Christian" values in his son Ernest. He instructed the boy in the precise arts of fishing and shooting and brought him along on hunting expeditions in the Michigan woods. Here, Clarence educated the young and naturally inquisitive Ernest on "such recognized culinary delights as venison, quail, partridge, dove, duck, turtle meat, frogs' legs, and various kinds of fish" (Lynn 35) and also trained him to detect "which berries and grasses were edible and which were not" (Lynn 35). Hemingway's recollections of the boyhood adventures he shared with his father, "Up in Michigan," are vividly recreated in his literature through the fictional guise of Nick Adams.

As Ernest Hemingway matured both intellectually and socially, he was forced to accept another side of his father's "muscular Christianity," one no longer exemplifying masculine individualism, but rather devoted service as both a husband and father:

When Ed was courting the rather reluctant Grace, he promised that she would never have to do housework and kept his word. He always prepared the children's breakfast and served Grace in bed. He bought the groceries, did most of the cooking, took care of the laundry and managed the servants despite his medical responsibilities.10


Whether a remnant of his strict matriarchal upbringing or simply a lack of cojones11 Clarence Hemingway allowed himself to be dominated by his wife. Though they seem to have shared the responsibility for raising their children, Grace was more the disciplinarian12 and almost exploitative of her husband's leniency, rarely seeking his approval in her childrearing experiments. Not that Clarence would have offered much resistance. He was especially nonchalant about her dressing their first-born son in girls' clothing.13 Volcanoes of critical speculation have erupted among scholars regarding this incident, leading many to believe that Grace Hemingway was guilty of feminizing her son.14

In Hemingway's Quarrel with Androgyny, Mark Spilka provides the most persuasive evidence to refute the popular theory of Hemingway's feminization. Spilka believes Hemingway was engendered by a mother who had the most androgynous of intentions:

Her twinship experiments, in which she tried to match Ernest with his sister Marcelline, his elder by a year, have long been misunderstood as attempts to feminize or sissify her son after the popular notion of Fauntleroy. But androgynous dollhood comes closer to her apparent intention. Ernest and Marcelline were her twin Dutch dollies, boy and girl, and the Dutch length of their hair and their matching dresses were androgynous features.15


Spilka also cites Halifax of Dinah Craik's John Halifax, Gentleman as another influential literary character. His moralistic superiority, family-inclined nature and Christian devoutness personified additional androgynous features Grace Hemingway believed to be specifically tailored for her son.

While popular literature of the time period played a substantial role in influencing Grace Hemingway's androgynous childrearing practices, her unusual conceptions of motherhood had familial origins as well. Caroline Hall had taught her daughter to be the creator of her own success and took every opportunity to encourage the girl's ambitious pursuits, reminding her that "there is no use any woman getting into the kitchen if she can help it."16 Due to her family's considerable affluence and lifelong dependence on hired help, Grace never had to acquaint herself with a kitchen or burdensome domestic chores.

Shortly after her mother's death in 1895, Grace traveled to New York to begin her training as an opera singer. About this time, she'd begun to reevaluate her relationship with Clarence Hemingway, the gracious and handsome doctor who assisted Mrs. Hall in the months prior to her death. It now seemed inevitable that Grace decide between her aspirations to be an opera singer or mother. She chose the latter and married Dr. Hemingway in 1896. As folklore goes, Grace declined an invitation to sing at a gala honoring Queen Victoria, for the engagement conflicted with the date of her marriage.17

Though Grace Hemingway ultimately chose to marry and raise a family, her dreams of professional acclaim lingered. Having strongly identified with her father as a young girl, admiring his success as a businessman and desiring a similar level of success for herself, Grace's "personal identification with her mother," to use Chodorow's phrase, never thoroughly developed. By continually emphasizing self-sufficience and abstinence from domestic duties, Caroline Hall merely complemented the attributes of her husband. Whether she was as persistent in familiarizing her daughter with nineteenth-century feminine ideals remains questionable.18

In raising her son Ernest androgynously, Grace Hemingway may have been compensating for the lack of symmetry in the gender roles of her own parents. The abnormal identification she enjoyed with her father could have evolved into the more abnormal wish-fulfillment she played out through her son. The insightful Spilka notes:

What Grace wanted for her son Ernest, then, was very much what she wanted for herself; and when she twinned him with his older sister, Marcelline, and began experimenting with their hairstyles, first Dutch-length in infancy, then close-cut when Ernest began school and received his first boy's haircut, she was telling her firstborn son something about the gender she favored in creating such twinships. (332)


Hemingway would flirt with similar wish-fulfillments later in his own life. Rather than displacing his fantasies upon a vulnerable child, he skillfully implanted them deep within the psyches of his fictional characters.

As a result of being raised by essentially dually gendered parents, Ernest Hemingway was never able to attach himself to a singular model of femininity or masculinity. In this respect, his sense of gender confusion reflected the gender confusion of his parents. When she was not exercising authoritative control over her husband, Grace Hemingway was a loving mother who reminded her son (after he had written a letter home joking about getting married), "It was only yesterday that you were Mother's little yellow headed laddie, and used to hug me and call me 'Silkey Sockey.' "19 When he was not teaching his son the manly leisures of hunting and shooting, molding him "as the frontier scout he had always wanted to be himself,"20 Clarence Hemingway subsided into his submissive role as husband.

Considering the gender reversals of his parents, one might theorize that Ernest Hemingway's Oedipal crisis was also reversed. As he observes his mother's domination of his father, he begins to question his father's masculinity. He believes that his mother has castrated his father, thus symbolizing her as the authority figure. For this reason and not the reason of genital disparities, as Freud attests, Hemingway develops feelings of hatred towards his mother, which are intensified by the fact that she never assigned him a specific gender because of the androgynous approach she'd taken in constructing his identity.

The distinction between sex and gender is crucial and must be clarified in order to better understand Hemingway's "mother complex." I use these terms narrowly: sex refers to that which is physically defined through our genes and sexual organs; gender refers to that which is socially defined through our parents and other agents of society. As a child, Hemingway is capable of discerning the sexual differences between himself and his mother. His sense of gender, however, might have been confused. Having never been socially defined by his parents, never nurtured exclusively as a masculine or feminine entity, his gendered identity remains unconceptualized. A gender-confused boy grows into a gender-confused man, who devotes the remainder of his life to the pursuit of his own sense of self, an "idealized self," one defined neither by his parents nor by society.

Freud believed that "most of our actions are motivated by psychological forces over which we have very limited control. He demonstrated that, like the iceberg, the human mind is structured so that its great weight and density lie beneath the surface."21 The resemblance of this analogy to Hemingway's famous remarks concerning his style of writing is obvious. By obsessively controlling his style of writing, Hemingway controls the psychological forces that dictate his thinking, the thinking of his characters and the thinking of his readers. He uses at least three stylistic devices to control his prose: omission, location and organization. In subsequent chapters, we will examine how each of these devices enabled him to establish important narrative distance between his characters and his readers and psychological distance between his readers and himself.

By the late 1930's, the Hemingway hero had undergone several significant changes. Gabriel Motola recalls, "the major difference between the Hemingway hero before and after 1937 is not his method of conduct but the realization that that conduct is necessary if his life is to be meaningful" (320). In Hemingway, the shift from a narrator observantly relaying the experience of characters to one who analyzes their "conduct" is the clearest indication that the author has begun to lose stylistic control of his prose. Analysis complicates the relationships among characters, which overshadows the surface simplicity of the narrative, defeats Hemingway's aims of ambiguity, and thus gives readers more interpretive accessibility to the text.

Jackson J. Benson sees the inability to create narrative distance as another dangerous stylistic deficiency. This lack of effective narrative distance is most noticeable in Hemingway's later works (particularly Across the River and into the Trees, A Moveable Feast and The Old Man and the Sea). Benson warns, "when the author does not deliberately create such distance, the fiction fails, because that which has motivated the daydream tends to adulterate the discourse--as self-pity and wish-fulfillment step over the implied author to express themselves nakedly" (165).

In Our Time, The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms are outstanding literary achievements not only for their delicacy of theme, simplicity of dialogue and subtlety of language but also for the exceptional maturity with which this young and experimental writer approached them. Here, the conscious control of style, the characters' control of themselves, and the progressive evolution of the "idealized hero" merge together while leaving the required seven-eighths of the iceberg underwater. For this reason, these works deserve our closest attention.



NOTES

5. Qtd. in Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature, Third Edition, 125.

6. Ibid.

7. Nancy Chodorow, The Reproduction of Mothering, 174.

8. Alexander Mitscherlich, Society Without the Father, 1963; Philip E. Slater, "Toward a Dualistic Theory of Identification," Merrill-Palmer Quarterly of Behavior and Development 7, 113-126; Robert F. Winch, Identification and Its Familial Determinants, 1962; David B. Lynn, "A Note on Sex Differences," 1959 and "Sex Role and Parents," 1962.

9. Kenneth S. Lynn, Hemingway, 35.

10. Jeffrey Meyers, Hemingway: A Biography, 7.

11. Spanish for "testicles," a favorite term among critics when referring to the valor of bullfighters or the "grace under pressure" demonstrated in Hemingway's characters.

12.There seem to be some discrepancies in the Hemingway biographies over who in fact was the disciplinarian of the family. Carlos Baker attests that Dr. Clarence Hemingway "was by far the stricter of the two" and that Grace was "a good deal more permissive" and basically "wanted her children to enjoy life." In using the term, "disciplinarian," I am referring to Grace's stature in matters pertaining to her husband and not her children. I admit my interpretation may be culturally biased. See note 14.

13. Though critics have not reached a general consensus as to when Grace Hemingway stopped dressing her son in girls' clothing, Mark Spilka attests that Hemingway received his first boy's haircut at age six. It should be noted that Clarence was the one to insist that his son receive the shorter haircut. See Spilka, Hemingway's Quarrel With Androgyny, 46.

14. I am not interested in what specifically influenced Grace Hemingway to dress her son in girls' clothing, whether a product of the time period (it was perfectly common for boys to wear infant dresses during the Victorian age) or her own wish-fulfilling desires. I am more concerned with how her behavior affected her son's process of gender identification. Those who have condemned Grace as a domineering woman and authoritarian mother also see her as responsible for feminizing her husband and son. Such an interpretation, however, may be culturally biased. Hemingway scholars (many of whom are men) bring to their research their own preconceived definitions of masculinity. If a man does not conform to the tenets of their masculine ideal, they are more apt to assume he has been feminized.

15. Spilka, Hemingway's Quarrel With Androgyny, 46.

16. Ibid., 22.

17. I thank Mark Spilka for this tidbit of Hemingway folklore. Ibid., 24.

18. For a further discussion of feminine ideals prevalent during the Victorian era, see "Contemporary Ideologies" in Francoise Basch's Relative Creatures, 3-15. I am grateful to Elaine Showalter (A Literature of Their Own) for bringing this particular work to my attention.

19. See Nancy R. Comley and Robert Scholes, Hemingway's Genders: Rereading the Hemingway Text, 26.

20. Spilka, Hemingway's Quarrel With Androgyny, 331.

21. A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature, Third Edition, 118.





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Very Interesting
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bentley
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Re: Hemingway and Women (The Mother Complex)

Found on Timeless Hemingway: (Interesting Q&A)


Please settle this debate. We all know that Hemingway hated his mother. Did he love his mother?

Most of Hemingway's biographies do show the author's distaste for his mother. He also didn't attend her funeral when she died in June of 1951. Hate may have been a motivating factor in his decision not to go. However, we must not forget that Grace Hemingway was a good mother in the traditional sense, showering her son with warmth and affection early on in his life.

Hemingway did harbor a great deal of hatred for his mother. He seems to have held her partly responsible for his father's 1928 suicide. We must remember, though, that the accounts we receive (through biographies, letters, etc.) of Hemingway's hatred for his mother are mostly his own confessions to friends. By making such remarks about his mother, he might have been trying to create some particular image of himself in their eyes.

As far as Hemingway loving his mother, that's a toughie. Hate was an emotion displayed much more regularly and openly in his lifetime than love. It's the public Hemingway we remember brawling with fellow writers, hunting in Africa, enjoying the bullfights in Spain. Such images seem to communicate more anger and aggression in this man than love and compassion (though he loved to do all of the things listed above). Out of his four wives, I think Hadley (his first wife) was the one he cared for most. He never forgave himself for how he had betrayed her.
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Re: Hemingway and Women (On Love)

Hemingway On Love
February 18, 2007 - 11:25 by Timeless Hemingway

Though Ernest Hemingway had a rather pessimistic view of love in his literary works, he spoke very fondly of love in a lesser known piece of writing. To commemorate the Valentine's Day now passed, I thought it would be fitting to share a few of Hemingway's thoughts on love.

Prior to his death, Hemingway submitted to the Wisdom Foundation of California his insightful observations on numerous subjects including love, death, and writing. Playboy magazine published these statements for the first time in their January 1963 issue. Below are excerpts from the "On Love" section of the Playboy piece.

Love enlarges the scope of the mind, enhances the mental faculties, clarifies emotion and gives poise to enthusiasm.

To understand another is one of life's richest blessings, and to be understood by another is perhaps love's sweetest and most satisfying gift.

Love is the ultimate of existence, the principle of brotherhood, the essence of character, the basis of fellowship.

Love reveals the plan of the universe and the character of a man at a single glance.
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bentley
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Re: Hemingway and Women (Interesting views on parents)

Fathers and Sons [Chapter 6]
*Excerpt from "The Importance of Being Ernest:
Hemingway's Truth in Fiction and His Fiction in Truth"
by Josh Silverstein



This chapter is from a scholarly thesis, and meets the provisions set forth in section 107 of U.S.C. TITLE 17 of Copyright Law, which states that "the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright."



Ernest Hemingway's relationship with death is almost as complex as his relationship with his mother. Though I've primarily emphasized the intricacies of Hemingway's gender identification and his mother's direct influence in this process of conceptualization, it is important to note that during his infancy, Grace Hemingway closely adhered to a traditional model of motherhood, showering her first-born son with warmth and affection:

With his first breath of life, Grace had drawn baby Ernest into a deliciously intimate dependency. For six months he slept in her bed, where she allowed him to pat her face, squeeze up close to her and feed at will from her pillowy breasts. "He is contented to sleep with Mama and lunches all night," she happily recorded in her scrapbook." (Lynn 43)


As Hemingway grew out of this "intimate dependency," he yearned for the greater freedom and rugged experience of his frontiersman father. Grace, no longer symbolizing the nurturing mother, instead represented an obstacle to her son's manly self-image, a tyrant evoking fear in his desire to solidify a distinctive masculine identity. In later years, this fear would become a scornful hate. To close friends, Hemingway never sugarcoated his true feelings for his mother. It was a hate so deeply embedded that he refused to attend her funeral when she died in 1951.

Hemingway may have shown cold regard for the death of his mother, but the suicide of his father in 1928 haunted him for the rest of his life. His sentiments regarding the incident were intricately mixed. While in an omitted portion of Green Hills of Africa, he condemned his father as a coward who shot himself, he privately confided to friends that his mother, a bitch (as he frequently referred to her), had a direct hand in his father's death. He strongly believed that such domineering women always drove such feeble men to such deplorable fates. A far more gruesome fate would await Ernest Hemingway some thirty-three years later:

At about seven o'clock on that Sunday morning, Hemingway, dressed in pajamas and bathrobe, went down to the basement to get the gun and a box of ammunition. But he did not kill himself in that dark vault. Instead, he came upstairs to the foyer, near the gun rack and just inside the main entrance of the house. Knowing that Mary would find him there, he pushed two shells into the twelve-gauge Boss shotgun, put the end of the barrel into his mouth, pulled the trigger and blew out his brains . . .35


With every suicide comes the inevitable question of why. In the case of Ernest Hemingway, the more befitting question is, why not? Since the age of nineteen, as an American soldier in the Italian army, he had flirted with death, both fascinated and frightened by its consequences. Maybe he would have liked to die on that war-ravaged ground surrounded by his dead comrades, his legs perforated with fragments of an enemy trench mortar shell, for how better it was to die as a hero, to leave the world in a noble state of virility, in silent pain.

In the final years of his life, Hemingway's courtship of death intensified, as did his vulnerability to freak accidents and physical ailments. After his second plane crash in January of 1954, Hemingway took delight in reading his obituaries, which though quite favorable emphasized his "constant efforts to court death."36 His body had become a vehicle for his own self-destruction; the countless injuries and illnesses symbolized his decorations in valor, scars that would forever mark his physical vitality. Sigmund Freud once wrote, "It is tragic when a man outlives his body." 37 For Ernest Hemingway, the statement might better read, "It is tragic when a writer outlives his talent." In the winter of 1961, Hemingway was asked to be one of the contributors to a book honoring the recently inaugurated President Kennedy. The man who had once written a 60,000-word draft38 of A Farewell to Arms no longer had the mental stamina to pen a few sentences in praise of his president:

Although he worked for hours, none of the dozens of attempts he made came close to satisfying him. A smell of desperation filled the room, Mary remembered. The next thing that happened was that Dr. Saviers arrived to take his patient's blood pressure. Sitting on the couch with his sleeve rolled up, Hemingway broke down and wept. That one gift which had meant everything had now deserted him. (Lynn 589)


Ernest Hemingway's gift for writing may have deserted him in the months prior to his death, but his "idealized self," which we have come to see as the wish-fulfilling by-product of his conflicted gender identification during childhood, is forever immortalized in print. Like Nick Adams, Jake Barnes, Frederic Henry and Francis Macomber, Ernest Hemingway was a man who ultimately maintained control. Their progression as characters is similar to his progression through life. He is Nick Adams struggling to cope with the death of his father. He is Jake Barnes struggling to understand the incapacities of his masculinity. He is Frederic Henry struggling to connect the separate pieces within himself. Finally, he is Francis Macomber, whose conceptualization of heroism is consummated only in his death.

Like his characters, Hemingway was a tenacious survivor, accepting the external forces outside of his control, yet refusing to allow such forces to culminate in his private destruction. If he were to be destroyed, it would be by his own hand. His suicide, therefore, could be considered the ultimate act of self-preservation. Throughout his life, he had seen first-hand how things were taken from others--his father was robbed of his masculinity, his comrades in war were robbed of their lives. No one would rob Hemingway of the heroic death he alone had chosen for himself.

In an obituary, John Wain recalls of Hemingway: "His vision of life embodied itself in fables concerning physical activity and the outdoor world, but there is never any doubt that for Hemingway, as for all sensitive men, the real battleground is inward."39 The most momentous battles Ernest Hemingway ever fought were within himself. He fought these battles in his literature as well as in his life. His reading public often found themselves blinded in the smoke of such battles, in the paradox upon paradox displaced by this consciously elusive writer. While to them suicide may have denoted a denouement of defeat, to Hemingway it was his one truest victory. No other paradox could have been more brilliantly constructed.

The greatest story Ernest Hemingway ever composed was that of his own life. It seems only fitting that such a story should end in death, as all eventually do. How he chose to live, how he chose to write and how he chose to die were the accomplishments of a thoughtful man, to whom every peril and peregrination of life was a boyhood adventure, a glorious challenge, an intrinsic test of self-discipline and manhood that must always be met with the utmost dignity, the utmost fortitude and, of course, "grace under pressure."



NOTES

35. Jeffrey Meyers, Hemingway: A Biography, 560, 561.

36. See Ivan Kashkeen, "Alive in the Midst of Death: Ernest Hemingway," Hemingway and His Critics, ed. Carlos Baker, 162.

37. Quotation in a New York Times obituary, September 24, 1939. See George Seldes, The Great Quotations, 263.

38. See Arthur Waldhorn, A Reader's Guide to Ernest Hemingway, 113.

39. See Hemingway: The Critical Heritage, ed. Jeffrey Meyers, 427.





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Choisya
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Re: Hemingway and Women (Interesting views on parents)

Very interesting and informative post about Hemingway and his Mother etc. Bentley, thanks a lot.
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fanuzzir
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Re: Hemingway and Women (The Mother Complex)

Bentley, we're not in the habit of posting long scholarly citations in the discussino format. Can you abstract it for us the next time you want some outside reference? Bob
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fanuzzir
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Re: The End of Something



ELee wrote:
. After the separation is complete, Marjorie chooses the [deep] water and rows away in the moonlight to continue growing toward maturity. Not yet ready for a similar pursuit, Nick remains on [shallow] land with his old buddy Bill. Just as the schooner sailed away with everything removable when the Horton's Bay mill closed down, so too Marjorie’s departure in a boat seems to signify that she takes away with her everything that was of value in this relationship.

Message Edited by ELee on 02-18-200706:08 PM






I'm frankly shocked at how much Bill seemed to be in Nick's confidence, and how thoroughly Nick had planned the whole thing. That wasn't just a frustrated outburst after a bad night of fishing. He went in there to do a job and did it. It goes to show you that the methodical, one-step-at-a-time style masks a deeply thought out project or initiative that some charater is not sharing with the reader. Bill knows. But we don't.
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Re: Hemingway and Women (The Mother Complex)



fanuzzir wrote:
Bentley, we're not in the habit of posting long scholarly citations in the discussino format. Can you abstract it for us the next time you want some outside reference? Bob




Thanks.

I appreciate the personal perspectives and 'imaginations', the feel of what the text does with us. To hear how we connect dots and why....as well as the dialog between people.
I enjoy the dynamics of that process.
I am not here to be educated, I am here to learn and in that I see a difference.

ziki
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bentley
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Re: The End of Something



fanuzzir wrote:


ELee wrote:
. After the separation is complete, Marjorie chooses the [deep] water and rows away in the moonlight to continue growing toward maturity. Not yet ready for a similar pursuit, Nick remains on [shallow] land with his old buddy Bill. Just as the schooner sailed away with everything removable when the Horton's Bay mill closed down, so too Marjorie’s departure in a boat seems to signify that she takes away with her everything that was of value in this relationship.

Message Edited by ELee on 02-18-200706:08 PM






I'm frankly shocked at how much Bill seemed to be in Nick's confidence, and how thoroughly Nick had planned the whole thing. That wasn't just a frustrated outburst after a bad night of fishing. He went in there to do a job and did it. It goes to show you that the methodical, one-step-at-a-time style masks a deeply thought out project or initiative that some charater is not sharing with the reader. Bill knows. But we don't.




It seemed that way to me as well when Bill came up to Nick at the end of the story and spoke to him. Nick just sent him away; but it was apparent that there was a third party in the Nick/Marjorie relationship who knew much more than the reader and/or Marjorie.
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bentley
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Re: Hemingway and Women (The Mother Complex)



fanuzzir wrote:
Bentley, we're not in the habit of posting long scholarly citations in the discussino format. Can you abstract it for us the next time you want some outside reference? Bob




Thank you for your comment. I thought the reference was pertinent; but can just cite the url. And it helped some folks like it helped me.

Since we are using literary criticism as a data point for our discussions, I thought it might be helpful to share what others have researched or found in Hemingway's biographies or autobiographies, etc. That's all.

But again, I will abstract it the next time I use the outside reference.
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