Hemingway and masculinity

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Description: The fiction of Ernest Hemingway glorifies the excitement of the bullfighting arena, the fast running stream, and the war zone. Thomas Strychacz claims that these settings are theaters requiring self-dramatizations that adhere to traditional masculine codes. Both Strychacz and Philip Young propose a performance theory maintaining that Hemingway's young male characters come into contact with that which is unpleasant before audiences who evaluate the proceedings. Often, the performers fail, or the watchers ironically misinterpret the stage action. Though Strychacz and Young primarily offer analysis of the first few chapters of In Our Time , there is an opportunity to use this foundation to build a more complete paradigm of the portrayal of masculine theaters as established in In Our Time , and developed across the Hemingway canon. Hemingway's said thematic focus begins in his first novel with the Nick Adams chapters, and is continued through adjoining, pre-chapter war vignettes. The following bullfighting scenes are depictions of idealistic super-theaters that model unattainable standards to their audiences. The performers in these dangerous theaters of the extreme are connected extra-textually to the performance of Pedro Romero in The Sun Also Rises and the wounded heroism of Finito de Palencia in For Whom the Bell Tolls . Finally, the conclusions of In Our Time and The Old Man and the Sea indicate that Nick's last river-setting is not finally a theater at all. It is a rehearsal space. The experience of Santiago alone in the ocean completes the paradoxical circle. After he faces a lifetime of obstacles and renews in private as we see modeled by Nick, Santiago's greatest and final performance occurs back in the rehearsal space, isolated, unseen, unwarranted, and invisible.
Language: English
Format: Degree Work