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The purpose of this paper is to analyze the story, trying to show to the reader how some aspects and characters shows the central theme of the story: the thoughts and feelings of Harry embody the theme of the story which is death. The story of The Snows of Kilimanjaro is centered within a small geographic area, and the length of time is relatively a short history. This story is considered one of the best stories of Hemingway, it has many reminiscences of the author in Paris presented in the memories of the protagonist. Like any story, it gives a message for each reader. Ernest Hemingway talks about the last moments of the life of Harry, a writer with his wife Helen stuck waiting for help in an African camp, which for an absurd neglect is dying of gangrene, concludes that in his pursuit of wealth and luxury, he has sacrificed his art, his love, his freedom and spiritual independence. Before beginning the analysis, it is important for reader to get an idea of â€‹â€‹what Hemingway is trying to say, however in order to have understanding of Hemingway short story, would be of interest to know a little about his life and background first.
Ernest Hemingway was an American writer born in 1899; he was one of the great American writers of the twentieth century. In 1925 Hemingway wrote "The Sun Also Rises", a tale of bohemian Paris that earned him his first success. It is considered one of the key figures in the contemporary novel, being awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1954. He began his career as a journalist, writing for the Kansas City Star, but his lust for adventure and action led him to enlist as an ambulance driver in World War I. During the war he was wounded and spent significant time recuperating before resuming his career in journalism as a foreign correspondent. Hemingway made his living traveling as a reporter or doing boxing sparring, for instance. He got married four times. Hemingway was an avid hunter and fisherman. He went on many hunting safaris to Africa and was a passionate fisherman of the deep sea. Hemingway's love of nature and hunting shows in many of his novels and short stories. Two of his best stories, 'The Happy Life of Francis Macomber "and" The Snows of Kilimanjaro', are part of his latest book. In his later years he continued writing but his expected latest novel never saw the light, leaving only some new short stories. He had a close encountered with death in the Spanish Civil War, when bombs went off in his hotel room in World War II; he collided with a taxi during the blackouts of war, and in 1954 when his plane crashed in Africa. Now after all these tragedies he suffered mental problems, and was hospitalized twice because of depressive processes, which eventually could not overcome, and he commit suicide with a shotgun at his residence on July 2, 1961.
The story begins with an epigraph letting know the reader that far away from the camp, is distinguished a white top covered with the eternal snows of Kilimanjaro. "Close to the western summit there is the dried and frozen carcass of a leopard."(p. 2243). Who knows what the leopard would have gone for as high? Maybe Harry wonders if he should not have gone up there to better understand the leopard which the freezing cold of the summit did not undermined his curiosity. Like the lonely leopard, Harry has wandered all his life from woman to woman, from adventure to adventure, not really knowing which has taken him to the tragic end. But Harry understands that he cannot ever climb that peak. Awareness of this tragic knot agony, Harry makes it cruel, having had the misfortune of accidentally pricked by a thorn near the knee. Now the wound is infected and gangrene has begun. Hemingway (1938) wrote, "I'm awfully sorry about the odor though." (p.2243). When the story begins gangrene is advanced and it is unlikely that Captain Compton's plane arrives on time at the camp in the jungle to take him to a hospital to be cured. The smelly and swollen leg is the summary of the wasted life of man who has not known love or truly life.
Helen loves him until the last minute and gives encouragement to Harry. She does not believe that Harry is going to die and prefers to give him a drink of hot soup than to let him drink whiskey and soda. But Harry prefers the second option. Harry remembered in a reverie hit (which was only interrupted by the kind attentions of Helen or their desire of a shot of whiskey) everything that happened in life that deserved to be written. But there is no more pain than the certainty of knowing he will not be able to do new things and is the certainty of knowing everything and not being able to write. Harry's energetic physique allowed him to live a life full of experiences. He cannot say he lacked for living things. But instead, how many stories he could have told. He could have written stories about his gambling addiction and his playmates on his first love and the loss of it, or the late recovery of this and the second betrayal and more. And mixed in with all his love for Paris, the streets and neighborhoods he visited, in which the same Ernest Hemingway lived as a youth. This is a memory tragedy endured by the writer and he is presenting a bygone era that will not return and the tragic undermining spirit of the writer.
In conclusion, in the story Hemingway (1938) says, "He heard the hyena make a noise just outside the range of the fire."(p.2257). Harry is in his final point where his life is close to the end. The hyena is a symbol of the lurking of death which is the central theme of the story. The next morning the pilot came to pick up Harry who was tormented by the high fever and gets on the plane. He contemplates the endless savannah from the window, the dispersion of the animals from above. The sky darkens and a storm comes along, Harry sees, "as wide as all the world, great, high, and unbelievable white in the sun, was the square top of Kilimanjaro. And then he knew that there was where he was going."(p.2259). Hemingway is telling that finally death won the battle and like in the beginning of the story is written that the summits of Kilimanjaro is called "The House of God" and is where all human beings wants to end up. According to the history analyze, the focus can be put on the failures of Harry; his failures to write, his failures as a man, his failures as a husband and a as a hunter. Many readers have seen Hemingway was as Harry. Reading the story this way the reader can look at Hemingway's struggle with himself. In order to die without regrets people must learn to appreciate life and be good and kind.