“But man is not made for defeat," he said. "A man can be destroyed but not defeated.” (Hemingway, 29). This is one of the lines that Ernest Hemingway uses in one of his books, titled, “The Old Man and The Sea.” It was published in 1952, and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize the following year. The story of an old fisherman's journey, his long and lonely struggle with a fish and the sea, was considered to be the most popular of all his works. Fortunately for this well-known author, he has many more books, novels and short stories that his readers enjoy.
Ernest Hemingway was born in Oak Park, Illinois on July 21, 1899 (Oliver, 1999). He was an author and journalist, and started his writing career in 1917, working for The Kansas City Star as a reporter. Hemingway was not only known for his works, which are considered classics of American literature, but also for his adventurous lifestyle and public image. His parents, Clarence Edmonds and Grace Hall-Hemingway, were both very well educated. Clarence, his father, was a physician, and his mother, a musician. They were also well respected in their community (Reynolds, 2000). Apparently, Hemingway disliked his mother but had her energy and enthusiasm. Personally, the relationship with his mother seemed strange, and a bit sad.
Oak Park and River Forest High School was where Hemingway was enrolled from 1913 until 1917. He was involved in many sports, excelled in English classes, and performed in the school orchestra for two years. His sister Marcelline also played in the school orchestra with him (Reynolds, 2000). The main reason for this was because their mother insisted that her children play some instrument. Since he did not want to, his inner thoughts and feelings toward his mother actually inspired some of his stories.
Hemingway took a journalism class his junior year, which also helped him land the job in Kansas City as a reporter. He only worked there for six months before responding to a Red Cross recruitment effort in 1918 (during World War I). There, he signed on and became an ambulance driver in Italy. In his non-fiction book, Death in the Afternoon, Hemingway describes some of his experiences during this time, and how rescuers had to collect the shredded fragments of dead people. He was wounded by mortar fire, but despite that managed to carry an Italian soldier to safety, and was awarded the Italian Silver Medal of Bravery (Mayers, 1985). Hemingway spent a lot of time traveling, and lived in some places, such as Kansas City, Toronto, Canada, Italy, Spain, Cuba, Paris and Key West, Florida.
Hemingway was only eighteen at the time. He had several wounds on both legs, and had to be operated immediately. Apparently, he fell in love for the first time with a Red Cross nurse, Agnes von Kurowsky. They agreed to get married, but later on, she wrote him with the news of her engagement to someone else, which left him heartbroken and devastated. Biographer Jeffrey Meyers claims that...