English Literature HL,
27th September 2012
Analysis of “Snows of Kilimanjaro” by Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway wrote the short story of Snows of Kilimanjaro in 1938. The story revolves around Harry, the protagonist, an old writer dying from gangrene after an infection in his right leg. He is on vacation with his rich wife Helen, and are camping in Tanzania, not far from the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro. Harry is an interesting artist using his charm to captivate rich women, and re-marrying once he is bored with them. He has been living like a sloth of Helens riches and this trip was supposed to help him get back on track with his career. Their camp is luxurious, having both servants and baths in the middle of a deserted area in Tanzania, however their truck recently broke down and they are now stranded, waiting for a plane to fetch them. The short story revolves around Harry reflecting on his life, very conscious of his condition with death around the corner, and his interaction with Helen.
The story reflects many of Hemingway’s personal concerns and is in several ways an autobiography. When writing this short story Hemingway feared that he was losing his talent. Very much so as Harry has regrets about running away from his talent of writing and turning towards rich women. Quoting Hemingway himself, “politics, women, drink, money and ambition” damage American writers. All these aspects are brought up throughout the story when Harry is reflecting on his adventures before “he had traded away what remained of his old life”. Hemingway as many others experienced war in his life which led to question morals and philosophy. Hemingway says he came up with his own code of conduct including hedonism. Hedonism is the belief of getting as much pleasure out of life as possible, a trait both Hemingway and Harry lived off, and that had an impact on their laziness. The italic writing in the story is memories of Harry’s but more so based on Hemingway’s...