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Ernest Hemingway

(life, “the Lost Generation”, works: novels, short stories, plots and characters, style)

1) Biography
•    born in 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois, USA; 4 sisters, 1 brother
•    travelled all his life, lived in USA, Cuba and Paris
•    in childhood dressed like a girl, in adult age hated his mother
•    loved fishing, canoeing, bullfighting (in Spain), hunting (in Africa)
•    as a student very good in English grammar, wrote for school magazine
•    refused to join army in World War I. because of bad left eye, served in a Red Cross hospital unit in Italy, injured
•    moved to Chicago, started writing for The Toronto Star, married Hadley, moved to Paris, Canada
•    had son, wrote The Sun Also Rises, divorced, married Pauline
•    wrote Farewell to Arms, met Martha, moved to Spain, worked as a war correspondent during Spanish Civil War
•    wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls, married Martha
•    secret agent of USA during World War II., started drinking
•    married Mary in Cuba, wrote The Old Man and the Sea
•    won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1954
•    committed suicide in 1961 because of depression, shot himself to the head, drunken
•    belonged to the group of writers and artists called “the Lost Generation”, because of war, expecting another, worse catastrophe
•    good narrator, characteristic frequent monologues, short sentences
•    brave characters, not always survive, but live their lives to the fullest

2) Works
•    best novels For whom the bell tolls, Farewell to arms
•    Nobel’s price for the short story The old man and the sea
•    another works: The fifth column, The green hills in Africa etc.

3) For whom the bell tolls
For whom the bell tolls is a psychological picture of the Spanish Civil War. The Main character of this novel is Robert Jordan. He is a capable American who comes to the guerrilla group to help them to destroy a strategically important bridge. Here he meets a girl, Mary, and falls in love with her. Robert finds he is nothing alone and death means nothing. The fourth day Robert succeeds in blowing the bridge up but he is badly hurt and cannot go on with the group. He knows he is going to die. In the end he realised what a beautiful place the world really is and how much it is worth fighting for.

4) The old man and the sea
The setting of this novel is Cuba, the city of Havana and later on the sea in the Gulf of Mexico. The action covers a very short period of time.
The idea was abidingness of human life and its timeless calling: man can be destroyed but not defeated. The author pointed out the human dependence on nature and the mutual permanent struggle between the two. According to Hemingway it is not possible to gain mastery over nature.
All this is symbolized by the positions of the little bay and the old man, the gap between generations, the search and discovery for something new. Man carries victory hidden inside him.
The action concerns an old Cuban [kju:bn] fisherman who went out to sea to catch the fish. Manoli is the boy who used to go with him as his helper. For forty days they had no luck, they did not catch even a single fish. For this reason the boy’s parents forbade him to go to the sea with the old man anymore. Santiago had to catch fish on his own.
One day he recognized that it is exactly eighty-four days since he last caught a fish. He went fishing. Suddenly something bit. It was a big fish that dragged the old man along the sea with it for several days. But Santiago won.
On the way home, sharks swam by the ship several times and ate the fish. Only a skeleton of the big fish remained. The boy was sad at the bad luck of his friend so he decided to join him at sea again.

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