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 Ernest Hemingway Message Boards : General Questions
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Sam Barnes
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Posted: 27 November 2005 at 11:47pm | IP Logged Quote Sam Barnes

Any of you have and ideas on some possible childhood reasons that Hemingway that led him to be a writer?
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Leo 168
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Posted: 28 November 2005 at 9:19pm | IP Logged Quote Leo 168

Hello Sam.

From what I've read by him and about him, he was extremely perceptive and had a strong need to communicate. He was a prolific letter writer--even at an early age (check out Selected Letters...). He did some writing for his high school newspaper, and I seem to recall reading that he mentioned (in his teens) that he wanted to be a professional writer (correct me if I'm wrong, y'all).

   With this background, it was natural to go on to work for the newspapers (even if on a relative's recommendation) in Kansas City and Toronto. With this experience, his genius, and the stimulating environment of Paris in the 20's...well, the rest is there for us to enjoy reading (most of it anyway!).

Cheers,

Leo

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rob on the job
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Posted: 29 November 2005 at 4:16pm | IP Logged Quote rob on the job

I think EH was a prolific reader who was especially drawn to the brawny writings of Teddy Roosevelt and Rudyard Kipling. He also liked Col. James Patterson's "Man Eaters of Tsavo" and went to see the stuffed man-eating lions on display in Chicago; interestingly, as an adult EH heard a sordid story involving Patterson that became a large part of "Francis Macomber."
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Leo 168
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Posted: 29 November 2005 at 9:31pm | IP Logged Quote Leo 168

Yes, he sure was a prolific reader--even at an early age. I overlooked that very important influence.

 

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RobbieJor
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Posted: 30 November 2005 at 4:43pm | IP Logged Quote RobbieJor

Sam,

 

I do not believe there were any childhood reasons that led Hemingway to be a writer and that’s because Ernest was born a writer.  He knew from the beginning that he was going to be a writer, a good writer and possibly a great writer.  It’s well documented that he had the discipline to methodically develop and practice his style.

 

When he was 19 he said something to the effect, “I have these stories in my head and I need to get them out [by writing].”  I believe he was under some criticism by his parents for not getting a “real” job or going to college.

 

His talent was recognized early on by the editor of the Kansas City Star when he was What?  Only 18.  And by many others before he reached 25: Hadley, Sherwood Anderson, Gertrude Stein (a medical doctor), Fitzgerald, Maxwell Perkins, etc.  Here was a kid in his early twenties, with no college education, of no particular pedigree, hob-knobbing with American literary intellectuals.  Ernest Hemingway was a born writer and they all knew it.

 

In 1958, Hemingway was asked, “Can you recall an exact moment when you decided to become a writer.”

 

He answered, “No, I always wanted to be a writer.”



Edited by RobbieJor on 14 June 2006 at 1:26pm


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