The Forgotten Female in the Works of Ernest Hemingway Essay

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The Forgotten Female in the Works of Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway has often been accused of misogyny in his treatment of female characters (and, perhaps, in his treatment of women in his own life). "It is not fashionable these days to praise the work of Ernest Hemingway," says Frederick Busch. "His women too often seem to be projections of male needfulness" (1). Many of his stories are seen as prototypical bildungsroman stories--stories, usually, of young men coming of age. There are few, if any, stories in the canon of women coming of age, however, and Hemingway is not the first to suffer the wrath of feminist critics. But is this wrath justified?

In his dissertation, Mark G. Newton reviews some of the
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He argues that ". . . Hemingway exhibits uncensored male perceptions of females perhaps as a partial explanation for why women occupy subjugated positions in American society" (180). He concludes:

. . . Hemingway's chief concerns remain consistent. Within this world of selfishness represented in Hemingway's canon, the "lost, lamented for values" include faith, hope, and security as well as "fertility, creativity, love, peace, and human brotherhood for maintaining life. . . . Harry's last words, "A man alone ain't got no bloody fucking chance" (THAHN 225), imply that togetherness may be the first step toward healing. Searching within the abyss of nada for meaning, people must first reform and embrace each other before they can reform and embrace the world. (188)

These are the same echoes, the reaching out for other human contact, that we see in George Willard in Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio. However, in placing women in this almost Christ-like position--the saviors of mankind as it were--is Hemingway presenting women at all? Or is he presenting only male fantasies--the kind of stereotypical, mythic female figure that women have been condemned by our society to try to live up to?

In Mothers and Others: Myths of the Female in the

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