Looking at Ernest Hemingway”s past, you”d see that he lived a very tough, strict childhood. He was raised under the thoughts that if you had strong religion, hard work, physical fitness, and self determination you would be very successful no matter what field you were to go into. This made his relationship with his parents sort of complex. It was more of a difficult relationship with his mother. She was demanding, and was also known to be over bearing. She didn”t accept Ernest as being a boy, so she frequently would treat him as a female baby doll and dress him as one as well. He didn”t have the “ideal” childhood as normally wanted.
I believe his mother not fostering that proper bond she should have made with him caused him to be unsure of himself. This could possibly be a cause to his depression. An example of the mental torture he was put through with his mother was on his birthday. For his birthday, after he was moved out, his mother sent him a “present. ” She mailed him a cake, the gun that his father had used to kill himself, along with a letter. The letter explained that a mothers life was like a bank. “Every child that is born… enters the world with a large and prosperous bank account, seemingly inexhaustible.
She continued in the letter that he should replenish what he has withdrawn, and wrote out all the specific ways in which Ernest should be making “deposits to keep the account in good standing. ” His mother could be perceived as androgynous, which means having both female and male type qualities or even personalities. In a few of the books Hemingway wrote, he gives someone the impression that he hated his mother. He referred to her as a “dominating shrew,” meaning she was selfish and only thought of herself. His mother considered herself pure and proper, and became very upset when anything “disturbed” her view of the world as beautiful.
Anything painful, or disgusting, she thought was not lady like. His childhood was very difficult and it stuck with him through-out his adult hood. Ernest never forgave his mother for humiliating him in front of the town. As an adult, Hemingway didn”t have it easy either. He lived a sort of rejected adulthood. When he was younger he dreamed of being a boxer. This dream followed him. He had bad eye sight and a bad knee, so this made it so he couldn”t be a boxer. In 1918 when he graduated from high school he enlisted in the army. He didn”t pass the physical due to the eye sight problem, so he was assigned to be an ambulance driver.
All he wanted to do was fight though, but since he didn”t pass he couldn”t legally fight. If this happened to any other person they”d feel the same as Hemingway was probably feeling, which was very sad and both frustrated with himself that he didn”t pass. This added on to his depression. Since he wasn”t happy driving the ambulance, he posed as a soldier and lead people into battle with him. Eventually everything was uncovered and they found out that he was posing as a soldier and kicked him out of the army where he then left for Paris with his new wife, first of four wives, Hadley Richardson.
He had one child with her and named him Jack. He later divorced Hadley in 1927 and married his second wife Pauline Pfeiffer. He had two children, Patrick and Gregory. During the second marriage, his father committed suicide and this lead Hermingway to become much more depressed. He cheated on his second wife and divorced her marrying Martha Gellhorn. Martha spent all of his money, and treated him very poorly. He finally divorced her, and during WWII he married his final wife Mary. They moved to Ketchum Idaho, and purchased a house. There he was treated for depression.
They gave him a series of electric shock treatments, but unfortunately this ended in him getting worse. The electric shock destroyed his memory, so he couldn”t remember things at all. This lead him to become incapable of writing, and he became much more depressed because of this. Hemingway eventually committed suicide July 2nd, 1961 by a self inflicted gun shot to the head. Based on my studies, I now have reason to say Hemingway can be considered a tragic figure in contemporary literature. He lived a very tough/depressing childhood as well as a very tough/depressing adulthood.
Through it all, he became a larger than life American writer. He is sometimes considered one of the greatest writers in American history. From what Hemingway went through, and the circumstances that he was under I think it”s sad that he died at such a young age but with so many accomplishments. He wasn”t really respected until after his death, which here is very tragic. Hemingway had a favorite expression:”il faut d”abord durer. ” He used it frequently in private letters and books he signed for friends. The French saying means “first, one must endure. ” Hemingway, in my opinion is one who has truly endured.