The dream of today is the reality of tomorrow. Certain dreams are light that make path into the future. Many men, through these dreams, have transformed lives. Those men are carriers. Carriers of happiness for all human kind. Among these those carriers, one can proudly mention the names of two epic novelist, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Even though Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald belong to the past century, they have both marvelously marked modern history in their own different ways. The two lived in the same literary period, and have many differences and similarities. In order to even begin to understand those differences and similarities, one must explore their background, their style, and the instrument that their ideas spoke through, their works.
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Ernest Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald were both born and educated in the United States. Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois. He received a fine education from Oak Park, but upon his graduation in high school he choose to pass on college. “From his infancy, Hemingway’s mother begins a strange habit of dressing her son like a girl, complete with dresses and long hair, and his older sister as a boy, with overalls and cropped hair”( Ernest Hemingway Timeline). Hemingway spent most of his life proving his masculinity as he showed in the book “Indian Camp”(Ernest Hemingway: Biography). Hemingway’s family later proved to have been suicidal, as Hemingway himself, his father, his brother and half of his two sisters committed suicide (Unrue, John). During World War I, as most young men did, Hemingway tried to join the US army but was rejected. He then volunteered as an ambulance driver, which later influence one of his book, “A Farewell to Arms” a novel set in WWI (Unrue, John). On 8 July 1918, Hemingway was injured in the legs while handing out supplies ( Ernest Hemingway: Biography). “Despite his injuries, he managed to drag a wounded Italian soldier off the battlefield, an act for which the Italian government awarded him a medal” (Ernest Hemingway: Biography). After marrying Elizabeth Hadley Richardson, the couple traveled to Paris where Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald just two weeks after “the Great Gatsby” was released (Ernest Hemingway: Biography). “Their friendship will later fall apart in spectacular fashion, thanks to a toxic combination of professional rivalry and a feud between Hemingway and Fitzgerald’s wife Zelda.” (Ernest Hemingway Timeline). When the US entered WWII Hemingway volunteered for the Navy, although he never fired at anything, he was awarded a Bronze Star for his service in 1947. In 1954, Hemingway became the fifth American author to receive the Nobel Prize for his book “The Old Man and the Sea”. Hemingway committed suicide on July 2,1961.
F. Scott Fitzgerald was born on September 24, 1896 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Unlike Ernest Hemingway, Scott went to college but never finishes (F. Scott Fitzgerald.” LitFinder). “On July 24, 1900, after an unsuccessful career as a salesman in New York state, Edward Fitzgerald, Scoot’s father, moves his family back to St. Paul. In September Scott enrolls at St. Paul Academy” (F. Scott Fitzgerald Timeline). At age 14, Scott Publishes his first book, “The Mystery of the Raymond Mortgage” in the Student publication St. Paul Academy Now and Then ( F. Scott Fitzgerald.” LitFinder). On November 20, 1917, already on probation and near flunking school, Scott quits school, and enroll in the US army. Just like Ernest Hemingway, Scott was never allowed to participate in the actual fighting in WWI ( F. Scott Fitzgerald.” LitFinder). In 1924, after publishing “The Great Gatsby”, “Fitzgeralds moved to Paris to join a growing community of American artists and writers drawn to France for its inexpensive cost of living” ( F. Scott Fitzgerald: Biography). “F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway meet at a bar in Paris. Fitzgerald has already written to his editor at Scribners to tell him about the talented young American writer he’s heard about in Paris circles”( F. Scott Fitzgerald: Biography). In 1929 the U.S. stock market crashed, the Great Depression began, and The Jazz Age, as Scott had named it was officially over. In 1931, Fitzgerald returned to America to die nine years later of a heart attack.
The biography of the two can be said to have been very similar, but the same cannot be said for the literary styles of these larger-than-life writers. Hemingway’s writing style can be trace back to the time of which his mother became obsessed with dressing him and his sister as boy and girls. In most of his works, Hemingway portrayed masochism and womanizing (Cooper, Michael), as he tried to prove his masculinity to the world. “Several of Hemingway’s protagonists share qualities that define them as a specific type of character that has come to be known as Hemingway’s “code hero.”” (Perkins, Wendy). World War One was most influential in Hemingway’s writing. Many times, the setting of his stories were war or other dangerous places, like the plains of Africa or a boxing ring, in which the hero has to face the test of courage (Perkins, Wendy). “The protagonist must face fear along with a growing sense of despair over the meaninglessness of experience” (Perkins, Wendy).
Unlike Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald’s style is quite whimsical and unconventional. Fitzgerald’s plot are fast and easy to read. Fitsgerald drinking habits almost ruined him. One of Fitsgerald’s greatest achievements in writing, The Vegetable, which he expected to become popular from, was taking for granted by literary opinion makers, they saw him as an irresponsible writer.
Fitzgerald’s clear, lyrical, colorful, witty style evoked the emotions associated with time and place. When critics objected to Fitzgerald’s concern with love and success, his response was: “But, my God! it was my material, and it was all I had to deal with.” The chief theme of Fitzgerald’s work is aspirationòthe idealism he regarded as defining American character. Another major theme was mutability or loss. As a social historian Fitzgerald became identified with the Jazz Age: “It was an age of miracles, it was an age of art, it was an age of excess, and it was an age of satire,” he wrote in “Echoes of the Jazz Age.” (Matthew)
As war influenced Hemingway, it also greatly influenced Fitzgerald. Nearly all of his novels take place around a war.
There is no better way to understand the writing styles and the authors themselves other than examining two of the authors prize works, “The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button”, and “The Killers”. Two very similar and different works in their own ways. Written during prohibition, Hemingway’s “The Killers” took place in a town called Summit, outside of Chicago, sometime during autumn, while Fitzgerald’s “The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button” took place in Baltimore, Maryland right after the U.S Civil War. While Hemingway approached the motifs of innocence, passivity, appearances, criminality, men and masculinity, as Hemingway always wanted to show his masculinity to the world due to his past, Fitzgerald approached identity, life, consciousness, existence, transformation, society and class, and family, in a satirical, bittersweet and almost poignant tone.
In conclusion, the two modern writers, Ernest Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald are two authors that have forever marked history, with their surprisingly similar biographies and their capability to hook and almost bewitch the reader with fascinating stories produced from their previous experiences, mainly World War One.
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