Hemingway Always Evokes A Feeling Of Depression

By Mike Haran
May 1, 2012

For me, Hemingway always evokes a feeling of depression. The first of his books 'The Brave Bulls' which I read at age fourteen greatly depressed me with its account of modern day bullfighting. Indeed the bulls were magnificent and make one wonder at the type of person who would find their suffering entertaining. If they do, I can only conclude that the latin race is indeed upon the verge of extinction.

In his ĎA Farewell to Armí the slaughter brought about by war is portrayed as but a repetition of an age old, almost natural process, a necessary part of mans social development. At the end of the novel he and his girl escape from Italy and his ties to its army only to have her die in childbirth. The resulting horror and the grief of war is now placed in context with that of his own personal grief, forcing the reader to reflect upon the fact that they are both the same but for the fact that warís grief is multiplied exponentially.

The final sentence in the book deals with his a saying good by to his now deceased girl :'I walked home alone,' bringing to mind the night ahead and then; the one after, and after that, the endless days, months, and years, the memory of her hovering in his mind, sometimes forcefully, sometimes absent to all of a sudden appear, the grief never truly disappearing.

To my mind one his most depressing books is 'The Old Man and the Sea'. Here the old fisherman at the end of his rope not having caught a fish for eighty days, goes too far out to sea and after great hardship lands a great swordfish. What is hell to reflect upon is the fact that this noble fish for two days, suffering from the pain of the hook in its jaw, fights its fight be finally defeated, not by courage or endurance, although that is present in the old man, but by mans intelligence over that of nature. There is a piece where in the creatures final moments it leaps from the sea displaying magnificent courage along with its flawless physique making one wonder upon the justice of making it go through this to feed a grubbing, undeserving, almost pathetic humanity.

Hemingway shows us that a world without human intelligence would be less cruel, and that while there maybe no god there certainly is a devil. His novels make one reflect upon the curse human intelligence imposes not only upon nature, but also upon man. And for what? Some would claim that man must constantly improve his position in order to more understand the higher power. This argument is idiotic as if there is a higher power. Man is not a centimeter closer to understanding what it is than he was three thousand years ago. The world would be a much better place if human intelligence was absent. No creature causes so much anguish, to not only himself, but to nature in general.

Whether his intention when writing these novels was to point out the above I don't know but this is the impression I came away with.

There are some who would say" hey toughen up, that's how the world is". It is my contention that this type of person, when subject to pain and danger is the first to cry like a baby.


About the author Mike Haran: Here is the link to my new web site devoid of any connection with the above which I use as a device to publish my war games,link.

Email: manzikertca@yahoo.com

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