Analysis of Hemingway's "The Snows of Kilimanjaro"

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Analysis of Hemingway's "The Snows of Kilimanjaro"

By | October 2008
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The Snows of Kilimanjaro - analysis

Hemingway's "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" is a story about a man and his dying, his relationship to his wife, and his recollections of a troubling existence. It is also, more importantly, a story about writing. Ernest Hemingway’s background influenced him to write “The Snows of Kilimanjaro.” One important influence on the story was that Hemingway had a fear of dying without finishing his work. Hemingway could well express the feelings of Harry because they both feared death in the event that they may have unfinished a work. Similarly, in “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” Harry, the protagonist is constantly facing death. Harry, together with his wife, is trapped on the desert in Africa because their car broke down. He has gangrene in his leg and is waiting for a medicine. He feels that he may die soon and tries to get his ideas and feelings expressed. In an effort to do so Harry resorts to flashbacks, which for him were very real moments.

In addition to his feelings on mortality, another influence on the story is Hemingway’s history with women. Hemingway married many times, possibly inciting the bitter feelings toward the women in his stories. By comparison, Harry is very bitter towards the woman, his companion on the wild African Safari. He demonstrates bitterness best in comments like “you bitch, you rich bitch” and “she shot very well this good, this rich bitch, this kindly caretaker and destroyer of his talent”.

Perhaps the most important influence on the story is that Hemingway had been on many safaris in Africa. This background together with a believable plot, convincing characterization, and important literary devices enables Ernest Hemingway in ”The Snows of Kilimanjaro” to develop the theme that a person should neither waste the gifts he holds nor lead his life taking advantage of others.

Harry, an aspiring writer, came to realize in his dying all that he had not accomplished. He began to blame others for the...
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