Additional Departmental Affiliation
Diversity and Community Studies
Ernest Hemingway wrote four major novels and dozens of short stories during his long career as one of America's preeminent twentieth century writers. Both during his lifetime and after his death, critics have written extensively about his work, analyzing it, interpreting it, and evaluating it. Perhaps the most debated aspect of the canon is Hemingway's treatment of female characters. In the past, critics tended to arrange Hemingway's heroines into categories, frequently dividing them into two groups: the bitches and the goddesses. More recent criticism eschews the restrictions of categories, focusing on the women as individuals and attempting to explain their behavior by analyzing their motivation. An examination of Hemingway's life and some of his work leads to a better understanding of his depiction of women. By looking at the heroines of three novels--The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, and For Whom the Bell Tolls--and four short stories--"Up In Michigan," "The Short, Happy Life of Francis Macomber, " "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," and "Hills Like White Elephants"--we can gain insight into Hemingway's female characters and into the author's attitude toward them. In the end, it is quite possible to see Hemingway's female characters in the same light as we look at his male characters--as developing human beings crossing the plain and moving through the valley on their way to the mountain top, where those who adhere to Hemingway's code live out their lives.
American Literature | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Brillhart, Kelly, "Women without Men: Hemingway's Female Characters" (1994). Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects. Paper 77.