02-11-2007 09:17 PM
That is a very interesting point of view Jim - thanks a lot.
There is something seductive about the offand but direct masculinity that is expressed here: the face to face confrontation with one's antagonist, the paternalistic concern for women, the defense of one's honor but the repartee that makes it sound all so entertaining. Hemingway is really teaching manhood, bringing a terse, urgent male persona into existence. It's also an undeniably self-pitying one--ability to mourn over one's loss in love and have a good drink over it is the "sensitivity" that Hemingway gave a new generation of twentieth century men.
With regard to the face-to-face confrontation with one's antagonist, though, do you think that Hemingway consistently presents this in a traditionally macho or manly way? I really don't. I think that, in many cases, Hemingway's male protagonists only confront the enemy (whether a physical or psychological enemy) when no other alternative (for example, avoid the enemy; deny that the enemy exists; pick a fight with someone else in order to forget about the enemy, if only temporarily; etc.) is available.
I really think that Hemingway's men did their fair share of navel-gazing and vacillating and avoiding the problem, which are generally not considered to be "manly" habits. But Hemingway wrote about these "lapses" in such a way that it almost sounds macho when one of his characters pulls a major Alan Alda.