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Consciousness In The Snows Of Kilimanjaro

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1543 words Published: 18th May 2017

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The Snows of Kilimanjaro is a short novel by well-known American novelist Ernest Hemmingway (1899-1961) by the use of stream of consciousness. The novel shapes the hero Harry, the dying writer, although he feared the advent of death, eventually he expected to rise his own soul to snow-capped peak of Kilimanjaro, so as to realize the detachment of spirit and surpass himself. The Snows of Kilimajaro contains powerful images of death. In fact, the opening paragraph of the novel tells the reader about a carcass of a leopard and Hemingways creates a trio of images that are showed throughout the novel: snow – God – death. The novel deals with an extreme life situation – the experience closely relates to death and the dying experience . Death is exsited no matter place in the novel, it is showed in the main plot of the story and the parts describing the remembrance of the hero’s life. Decay, destruction and death are the main themes of this short story.

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Hemingway described the hero Harry with flesh and blood, longing for having real life. Although he felt very helpless and angry for the fate and the death, he still remained clear-headed mentally in the dying point of the death, reflecting himself by the way of recalling the remorse, and regretting his mistake and wasted time. In order to show this theme, Hemingway used his unique technique of stream of consciousness, much space was used to describe Harry’s memories in the novel。In the passage of describing the reality that death is approaching¼Œthe narrative of stream of consciousness successfully was inserted in the main form of narration interposed, flashback, multi-perspective rendering method and symbolic, sketching out Harry’s life experience, succeeding in describing the activities of Harry’s mind, and depicting vividly the character’s personality

II Embodiments of Stream of Consciousness in the Snows of Kilimanjaro

Stream of consciousness is emerged on the basis of realism between the 1920s and 1930s, which breaking the traditional literary technique including character introduction, plot arrangement and comment on the psychological activities, while directly representing awareness activities of the characters, subconscious process is its main feature in particular, image and inner attitude of the characters are regarded as manifesting form.

Psychological state is the center line when the hero faced the death approaching in the Snows of Kilimanjaro, radiating out the stream of consciousness is the experience of Harry’s life and all the stories related to the death, the center line is regarded as the main line of the whole story vertically develops.–Harry’s death refracts Harry’s life, personality and his attitude towards death. All these above are inserted some narrative of stream of consciousness in the form of narration interposed, flashback, multi-perspective rendering method and symbolic in the center line. Finally, all the consciousness were attributed to a kind of sense, which the sublimation of people’s spiritual realm and the rise of aircraft are integrated, the article mounts to climax , beyond the space-time and reshapes the realm of himself.

Time and space crisscross

The narration split into two time and spatial levels made it possible for Hemingway to incorporate wider experience. The first level is precisely defined in time and space, whereas the second level is not restricted in this respect. It is on the edge of a dream, so it belongs rather to that surreal world. The combination of both gives strong sense of deep feeling and bitter experience of this violent world. Life is seen as a constant flow of conflicting activities, a mixture of phenomena flourishing and at the same time fading and due to destruction.

Hemingway breaks through the limits o f time and space in his pithy style, almost entirely revealing everything both Harry’s waking and imagination. During the course of the bounces between Harry’s waking and imagination, the author does not simply describe Harry’s vacant current -from world-weariness to indignation, but a sort of complicated minds, and meanwhile readers discover the course of Harry’s constantly shifting thought-from simplicity to degradation, and then to be awake. Through the double clues of Harry’s consciousness, both the back-and-forth-springing and the secret ones as the diagram above illustrates, the entire life of the protagonist comes to be presented step by step and increasingly clear from Harry’s recall and regret without chronological ordering. But with this unique employment of the technique of the back-and-forth-springing structure, Harry’s stream of consciousness occurs logically and soundly at the same as the events happen around him ,even those before.

Reality and Fantasy Interlacing

Looking through the whole novel, all the creation of novel are completed with the aid of Harry’s stream of consciousness and inner monologue except a few dialogues occurred on Harry and Helen in the awake time, and the limited scenery that Hemingway saw through the eye of hero, by the way of the mixture of reality and fantasy, so that readers can understand Harry’s life and psychological state that he faced death threat and feelings of remorse. We can see the two different levels of stream of consciousness between reality and fantasy, which interweaves each other, sometimes from real life to fantasy, and sometimes from dreams to reality, as a result that the readers can straightly glimpse the inner world of characters to penetrate his feeling.

In the activities of fantasy awareness, the novel shows the complex events of the past that Harry wrote after he stayed at continental place, including his childhood, the cruelty of the First World War and his skiing, looking for stimulation in gambling, his pain from anesthesia war; the journey and settle in European after the post-war, making money by writing, the personal feelings from increasingly deepening social crisis and social contradictions, his love and dissolute life and loneliness. Under the control of waking awareness, he remembered his wasteful luxury, extravagant, and hedonistic decadent life filled with fancy money and chasing women.

He had destroyed his talent by not using it, by betrayals of himself and what he

believed in, by drinking so much that he blunted the edge of his perceptions, by

laziness, by sloth, and by snobbery, by pride and by prejudice, by hook and by crook.

The fear of death for Harry from disgust, hatred was gradually changed into understanding, calm and acceptance. After all, he still loved life, he moved to Africa in order to start from scratch, but he contracted an incurable disease in the place, he was eager to find someone to save him from the death in the last time. At the moment, illusion stream of consciousness appeared, Harry saw that the aircraft droved by Compton to rescue him.

He lay still and death was not there. It must have gone around another street. It went in pairs, on bicycles, and moved absolutely silently on the pavements.

Because, just then, death had come and rested its head on the foot of the cot and he could smell its breath.

Readers think that Harry was really sitting in the aircraft and escaped the death situation, until finally readers know that death did come, and which is the feature of description from illusion to reality of Ernest Hemingway.

The master of modern narrative art, Hemingway responses to Harry’s the flow of stream of consciousness, so that the stream of consciousness and inner monologue are become into the most powerful tool to express the thinking and activities of the characters. When the story reaches a climax and the energy of theme concentrates to the maximum, the two consciousnesses of reality and fantasy from Harry are integrated into one unit, spewing out the stream of consciousness in the last moment of struggling between the life and the death, which makes all the activities of sense are concentrated together, he dreamed that he flew to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro by plane, Harry understood that the place was his willing. In fact, which is the final climb of Harry’s soul to the immortal realm of the spirit.

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Multiple points of view

Hemingway chooses the multi- points of view in the fluid present of novel, so that the hero can scan and look over from several angles and reflect on their past behaviour. The frequent alternation on the person is embodied in the text description. ” You” and “he” are often alternated in the same sentence in the description, making the narrative points of view frequently change. An objective description is the consciousness guide of readers, while the second-person narrative is associated with the character and the focus of attention from reader consciousness. In this way, describing character’s inner activity as if Harry thinks aloud. Through the conversion of narrative point of view, the inner world of characters


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