The Hemingway Code in the Novel The Snows of Kilimanjaro

December 30, 2021 by Essay Writer

The Hemingway Code is the set of characteristics that comprise the male characters in the writer`s works. In fact, the personages, created by Ernest Hemingway, perceive the world in terms of the hyper-masculine moral code that determines the manner of their behavior. However, the strong beliefs that characterize them as the full-fledged men can be described as a sort of the psychological wound, which inevitably results in the negative consequences, such as moral suffering and intentions to prove their manhood. In the scope of the current essay we are going to analyze the utilization of the concept of the Hemingway Code in the novel The Snows of Kilimanjaro, focusing on the character traits of the main hero, his manner of life, and the psychological state.

First of all, it is important to highlight that the Hemingway Code Hero is a symbol of the exceptional masculinity rather than a real individual. In general, the personage of such type possesses the number of the typical male character traits, which underline his masculine nature. For instance, the Code Hero is a person, who is popular among women and has numerous love affairs. Harry, the central character of the novel The Snows of Kilimanjaro, who recollected the major events of his life before the face of death, reveals that he had specific relationships with his rich wives and even once patronized prostitutes in Constantinople. However, it should be mentioned that the love affairs did not evoke strong feelings: in fact, the women were a necessary element that proved his masculinity, being a kind of trophies or caregivers: “he was only lying, as to this woman, now, who had the most money of all … who had had a husband and children, who had taken lovers and been dissatisfied with them, and who loved him dearly as a writer, as a man, as a companion and as a proud possession” (Hemingway 6). In addition, the author reveals that Harry shows the negligent attitude towards his lovers in order to illustrate his emotionless and establish the dominant position: “That’s not fair. I love you now. I’ll always love you Don’t you love me?” “No,” said the man. “I don’t think so. I never have” (Hemingway 3). One more characteristic that must be taken into account concerns the fact that the Code Hero is quite confident and successful in the sexual sphere which is emphasized within the text: “You wouldn’t want to destroy me again, would you?” “I’d like to destroy you a few times in bed,” he said” (Hemingway 7).

The other issue that should be considered is the psychological state of the Code Heroes. The specific understanding of morality, rigid ideology, and the constant need of self-assertion make the Hemingway`s characters suffer from sense of frustration and the inability to reach self-realization. The protagonist of The Snows of Kilimanjaro blames himself for wasting his talent of a writer: “He had destroyed his talent by not using it, by betrayals of himself and what he believed in, by drinking so much that he blunted the edge of his perceptions, by laziness, by sloth, and by snobbery, by pride and by prejudice, by hook and by crook” (Hemingway 9). In fact, Harry realizes he had the quite adventurous life, was involved in the unusual collisions of life, and it was his direct duty to write about it but he chose to marry wealthy women, despite the fact that he did not love them, which caused that he abandoned his writing.

The unique characteristic that belongs to the Hemingway Code Heroes is the abandoning of the unconscious fear that is associated with the death. According to Harry, there were a lot of times when he faced death, and it came in different forms: “he felt death come again. This time there was no rush. It was a puff, as of a wind that makes a candle flicker and the flame go tall (Hemingway 10). In spite of the fact that Harry suffers from pain, he tries to remain emotionless and show bravery: “All right. Now he would not care for death. One thing he had always dreaded was the pain. He could stand pain as well as any man, until it went on too long, and wore him out… and just when he had felt it breaking him, the pain had stopped (Hemingway 13). The only thing that Harry cared about when he understood that he was going to die was the fact that he did not become a successful writer. However, as his wife reasonably argued, “You’ve never lost anything. You’re the most complete man I’ve ever known” (Hemingway 14).

As presented in The Snows of Kilimanjaro, the Hemingway Code Hero is an individual whose worldview is based on the principles of the hyper-masculine moral code. The character traits of such personage include the negligent attitude to women, who act as the indicators of his success, numerous love affairs, emotionless, adventurous life, and strong sexual energy. In addition, such individuals are capable to resist death or accept it with the great sense of bravery. On the other hand, the aforementioned masculine code is rigid that makes the personages of such type seek self-realization and suffer from frustration.

Work Cited

Hemingway, Ernest. The Snows Of Kilimanjaro, And Other Stories. New York: Scribner, 1961. Print.

Read more