Tag: ernesthemingway

Book Review: Snows of Kilimanjaro (Ernest Hemingway).

Snows of Kilimanjaro

– Ernest Hemingway


Snows of Kilimanjaro is a short story written by Ernest Hemingway. The story focuses on Harry, a writer, who is unwell and is reflecting on his life while waiting to die. The story gives us insight into Harry’s life and the events which brought him to this point.

The story of Snows of Kilimanjaro begins with Harry and his wife being stuck in Africa while on a safari. Harry has gangrene; he and his wife are waiting for the rescue plane to show up. Harry didn’t apply iodine to his cut that then became infected. In the beginning, Harry keeps drinking and insults Helen, who is just trying to help him. He knows that he isn’t going to survive till the rescue plane gets there.


The focus shifts from the present to the past. Throughout the story, there are a series of flashbacks that focus on different times and situations of Harry’s life. Helen is a rich woman, and Harry has been living off his wife’s money. This trip to Africa was supposed to be his fresh start. He has spent too much time in the past procrastinating, drinking, and indulging in materialistic pleasures. Now he keeps regretting the things he wanted to do but didn’t. It is difficult to understand Harry at the start of the story; he seems rude and spoiled. As the flashbacks started, you get an insight into his character and understand him a little better.


The themes of death and regret plays a huge part in this story. Harry’s gangrene is caused by a scratch of a thorn that he didn’t disinfect. The flashback shows his experiences with mortality when he was a soldier in WW1 and got injured during a German bombing. He also keeps thinking about his writing career; it will end with him. I think he worries about the kind of legacy he is leaving behind both as a person and as a writer. His impending death makes him regret some life choices he made. In a way, it takes Harry to be on his death bed to think about all the wasted opportunities that are weighing heavily on him now.


The nature surrounding Harry and Helen has parallels with what is happening to Harry. The way Hemingway describes these parallels; you are never taken out of the story. The memories that flood Harry when he awaits his death are overwhelming to him. He reflects on events and behavior he hasn’t thought about in years. Everything is coming back to him, and in a sense, that is bringing regret with it. His wife, Helen, tries to be a reasonable voice, telling him that he will get help, and he will be okay. Harry treats with contempt at times maybe, even trying to blame his regrets about life on her.

Snows of Kilimanjaro is a very interesting story. The narration shifting from present to the past gives a unique perspective into Harry’s life that makes it easier to understand the man he is now. The descriptions and atmosphere of the story paints a vivid picture; it is well written. The darker themes about death and regret are dealt with a subtlety. I enjoyed reading this story.

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Book Review: The Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway).

The Old Man and the Sea.

-Ernest Hemingway.

Ernest Hemingway is one of my favorite authors. I have read a couple of books written by him now including this one and really liked it. The Old Man and the Sea is more of a novella than a full-length novel but still just as good.

The novella is a story of an old struggling Cuban fisherman Santiago. As the story begins, Santiago hasn’t caught a fish in 84 days and he is seen as the worst form of unluckiness. A young boy is his apprentice Manolin, whom he encourages to work on successful fishing vessels instead of him. What follows is an epic tale of an old fisherman going head to head with a huge marlin fish. Santiago is so determined to catch this fish and he puts all of his strength to make sure the fish doesn’t slip away from him.

The story has classic elements when it comes to its themes and symbolism. The theme of perseverance, man versus nature, isolation, strength, and skill, past and pride all come into play in this story. Some are more explicit while the others are a bit more subtle but constantly undercurrent to the story. Santiago refuses to give up even when faced with unwinnable odds and is determined to restore his pride and reputation by catching the fish.

The narration of the story is from a third person point of view which I think enabled me to get a complete feel of the overall plot and the characters. Hemingway’s writing style is powerful and descriptive. There are no big words used, the language is fairly simple. It is one of the reasons I personally like his writing style. The descriptions in the novel really give the complete feel of the physical aspects present in the novel. For example- the smells, the rough sea descriptions actually help visualize the scenario.

An unusual tale about a man and a fish resurrected Hemingway’s career and won him awards, praises, and accolades. Hemingway through his powerful writing and timeless thematic aspects make this short story unforgettable.

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