Eric Miles Williamson
The Life of Ernest Hemingway and The Sun is Also Rising
Ernest Hemingway was one of the most influential writers of the 19th century. Many have been influenced by his masculine, emotionless, grunt-like writing style, that to me, seem reflective of his life long depression. Hemingway was born with a condition called hemochromatosis, of which is said to be an overlooked condition he inherited from his father that later lead to his suicide (Bogousslavsky). The ailment doesn’t allow the element, iron, to metabolize in his body, which leads to mental and physical atrophy. His characters in The Sun Also Rises are reflective of his mood disorder, in that they are suffering as alcoholic, anxiety-based, sexually incompetent human beings. His father, Clarence Hemingway, later killed himself, more than likely, in part due to this condition, but also because of financial difficulties, that even Hemingway at the end of his life was burdened by, since he didn’t have a lot of money and needed to pay his taxes (King). Ironically, Hemingway went out the exact same way as his father, even noting that he would go out the same way after learning of his father’s suicide (King). Troubled by a life of drinking and loneliness, these habits contributed to Hemingway’s writing style in how he depicted modernistic themes in The Sun Also Rises by conveying his self-reflections in the development of his characters, most notably in how they deal with their vice of alcoholism.
At the end of Hemingway’s life, not only was he paranoid of the FBI and confused and unorganized, but he had been sapped of his creative depressive state due to electroconvulsive therapy that rewired his brain leaving him with the inability to write, especially after being particularly hesitant and disorderly with writing his memoirs, A Moveable Feast, in regards to what context he wished to include in its publications, which never even published until three years after his death (Poore). Fed up with his discontinuation of being able to write, Hemingway took his favorite shotgun and shot himself at his house (Walsh). With this, Hemingway left behind a highly influential legacy that just doesn’t seem to live up to his own artistic output in literature’s history. Many writers have carried in his footsteps, but the majority have failed following in his place. There is one particular writer I read, who obsessively wrote in light of Hemingway, by the name of John Graves. He wrote a 1960’s narrative entitled Goodbye to a River by trying to copy the writing style of Hemingway’s in how the “self” is removed from the context. And like Hemingway, he wrote straight to the point, and was tangible of Hemingway’s masculine grunt-like punch of a clause or short sentence. Graves applied this writing style to his narrative in how the Brazos River would later be changed by industry, but before his farewell to a landmark unaffected by the postmodern industrial complex, he reminisces on stories of people and its history in their relationship to the Brazos River. It seems he failed to reach
literary success in that he wanted to be the next Ernest Hemingway, of who he worshipped by referring to him as, “Prince Hemingway”. But it’s obvious that only Ernest Hemingway can be the only one who writes like himself, in part, it was due to the way he lived his life including the way he reacted to his personal experiences as is being the utmost influential factor in the development of his writing style on top of what he chose to write about. In my opinion, his first novel was the most important. Usually, critics argue that a writers’ first novel is their best work. And although The Sun Also Rises was not as critically acclaimed as Farewell to Arms, even though I argue there is a richness behind the innovation of the novel, such that, it takes on new light of the modernist style in how...