A Feminist Approach to Ernest Hemingway

a critical essay on Hemingway's so called mysoginistic attitude toward his female characters...
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   A Special Course in American LiteratureProf. Dr. LIGIA DOINA CONSTANTINESCU  A Feminist Approach to Ernest Hemingway’s TheSnows of Kilimanjaro Student: TUDOR CRISTINAFrench- English, 4th year ! study, #4$$%&'(&$''(   A Feminist Approach to Ernest Hemingway’s The Snows of Kilimanjaro  When referring to what we call literature norms, the famousfeminist critic, Elaine Showalter remarks, and with good reason too, thatin most of what we call ‘good literature’:” too many literary abstractionswhich claim to be universal have in fact described only male perceptions,experiences, and options ...” ( Toward A Feminist Poetics , p.124), the result being the unfair treatment of woman as the Marginal, the secondary sexnot allowed to speak and express its own perceptions and personality.Ernest Hemingway’s well-known short-story The Snows ofKilimanjaro  is one literary product which reflects best the woman’smarginal position in a great American writer’s work. A representative work for its creator, The Snows of Kilimanjaro  has a rather simple plot:Harry, a journalist aspiring to be a writer, and his ‘wife’, Helen,participate in safari hunting on Kilimanjaro Mountains, where Harry getsa gangrened leg. The story is focused on Harry last hours of life and onhis discussions with Helen. When talking about this short-story, it is quite impossible tooverlook the distinctive roles detained by the two characters, and thecontinuous conflict between them. Seen from a Feminist perspective,these characters are clearly, if not dangerously, representing anpatriarchal way of conceiving sexes’ roles: the man - a typicallydominant, aggressive male, frustrated by the wasting of his talent, always $  not only disregarding but also insulting his wife:” You bitch, you richbitch! ”; the woman - a not named, totally submissive character,emotionally dependent on her husband. A Feminist critic could not help observing the fact that this short-story shows many hints of a patriarchal conception and of a marginalposition of the female character. From the very beginning, there are twodistinct perspectives of her: Harry’s and the narrator’s, all converging toan inferior position comparing to her man. Harry’s subjective perceptionshows her as “ the kindly caretaker and destroyer of his talent ”- fittingperfectly Hélène Cisoux’s considerations on the woman inferior status ina phallocentric society which blames her ”  for being frigid, for being ’toohot’, for being both at once; for being too motherly and not enough... ” ( TheLaugh of the Medusa , p.312). Furthermore, Helen’s rare, short answersalso construct an image of the woman as an obedient being, not allowedto criticize her man but only to take care of him. Nevertheless, there are some elements presenting this character ina different view as a rich emancipated woman, having few love-affairs,etc., as the provider for food, as the only active character in the story. Willingly or not, Hemingway gives also an objective perspective of thischaracter, letting his reader guess that there is something more behindthe mask imposed by the patriarchal perception of women. Thiscorrelated with the last scene of the story showing the woman findingHarry’s body and her incapacity to hear the hyena’s noise for the beat ofher heart - thus indicating the author’s focus on the character at the end- leads to a probable change in Hemingway’s perspective of the femalestatus, from a phallocentric one to a modern one. #   To sum up, a Feminist critic always finds something to reproach toHemingway when analysing his female characters, as they areundoubtedly marginalized, somehow associated with the death of man, of virility, of lucid control against emotions- all favourite themes of thephallocentric society and culture. And, still, this disregard of the othersex can possibly determine a critic to neglect a great writer’s literary value?! Obviously, it cannot. Bibliography: ã Showalter, Elaine – Toward a Feminist Poetics, 1979 ã Cisoux, Hélène – The Laugh of the Medusa, 1975 ã Hemingway, Ernest – The Snows of Kilimanjaro   4

Mrs. Sumati

Jul 29, 2017

East End Bmj 1940

Jul 29, 2017
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