Ernest Miller Hemingway

Ernest Miller Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899, in Oak Park,
Illinois. His father was the owner of a prosperous real estate business. His
father, Dr. Hemingway, imparted to Ernest the importance of appearances,
especially in public. Dr. Hemingway invented surgical forceps for which he
would not accept money. He believed that one should not profit from something
important for the good of mankind. Ernest\'s father, a man of high ideals, was
very strict and censored the books he allowed his children to read. He forbad
Ernest\'s sister from studying ballet for it was coeducational, and dancing
together led to "hell and damnation".
Grace Hall Hemingway, Ernest\'s mother, considered herself pure and
proper. She was a dreamer who was upset at anything which disturbed her
perception of the world as beautiful. She hated dirty diapers, upset stomachs,
and cleaning house; they were not fit for a lady. She taught her children to
always act with decorum. She adored the singing of the birds and the smell of
flowers. Her children were expected to behave properly and to please her,
Mrs. Hemingway treated Ernest, when he was a small boy, as if he were a
female baby doll and she dressed him accordingly. This arrangement was alright
until Ernest got to the age when he wanted to be a "gun-toting Pawnee Bill".
He began, at that time, to pull away from his mother, and never forgave her for
his humiliation.
The town of Oak Park, where Ernest grew up, was very old fashioned and
quite religious. The townspeople forbad the word "virgin" from appearing in
school books, and the word "breast" was questioned, though it appeared in the
Ernest loved to fish, canoe and explore the woods. When he couldn\'t
get outside, he escaped to his room and read books. He loved to tell stories
to his classmates, often insisting that a friend listen to one of his stories.
In spite of his mother\'s desire, he played on the football team at Oak Park
High School.
As a student, Ernest was a perfectionist about his grammar and studied
English with a fervor. He contributed articles to the weekly school newspaper.
It seems that the principal did not approve of Ernest\'s writings and he
complained, often, about the content of Ernest\'s articles.
Ernest was clear about his writing; he wanted people to "see and feel"
and he wanted to enjoy himself while writing. Ernest loved having fun. If
nothing was happening, mischievous Ernest made something happen. He would
sometimes use forbidden words just to create a ruckus. Ernest, though wild and
crazy, was a warm, caring individual. He loved the sea, mountains and the
stars and hated anyone who he saw as a phoney.
During World War I, Ernest, rejected from service because of a bad left
eye, was an ambulance driver, in Italy, for the Red Cross. Very much like
the hero of A Farewell to Arms, Ernest is shot in his knee and recuperates in a
hospital, tended by a caring nurse named Agnes. Like Frederick Henry, in the
book, he fell in love with the nurse and was given a medal for his heroism.
Ernest returned home after the war, rejected by the nurse with whom he
fell in love. He would party late into the night and invite, to his house,
people his parents disapproved of. Ernest\'s mother rejected him and he felt
that he had to move from home.
He moved in with a friend living in Chicago and he wrote articles for
The Toronto Star. In Chicago he met and then married Hadley Richardson. She
believed that he should spend all his time in writing, and bought him a
typewriter for his birthday. They decided that the best place for a writer to
live was Paris, where he could devote himself to his writing. He said, at the
time, that the most difficult thing to write about was being a man. They
could not live on income from his stories and so Ernest, again, wrote for The
Toronto Star.
Ernest took Hadley to Italy to show her where he had been during the
war. He was devastated, everything had changed, everything was destroyed.
Hadley became pregnant and was sick all the time. She and Ernest
decided to move to Canada. He had, by then written three stories and ten poems.
Hadley gave birth to a boy who they named John Hadley Nicano Hemingway. Even
though he had his family Ernest was unhappy and decided to return to Paris. It
was in Paris that Ernest got word that a publisher wanted to print his book,