<h2>“The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places.” </h2>-Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms
Farewell to Arms. Digital image. Italy Magazine. Web. 4 Mar. 2015. <http://www.italymagazine.com/featured-story/farewell-arms-hemingways-italy>.
I too wanted to slap the guy. A common response shared after reading The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, but a very compelling read. McLain writes another story that straddles the blurry world of non-fcition/novel style. Ernest Hemingway had so many character flaws to go along with his talents. His ‘Paris wife’, Hadley by contrast, was portrayed as a very endearing and real character. Hemingway’s infidelity was only one of his tragic and annoying faults. He was a bully in many ways and a compulsive self-obsessed chauvinist. That said, it was a different era and he clearly was a mentally ill man self-medicating since his teens. I think perhaps his destructive behaviours were also a front for the wounded 19yr old who witnessed the horrors of WWI. War is far more damaging on a person’s soul than people or history ever admit. I understand. My own father never truly recovered from WWII. Add this to all is other issues and ol’ Ernest was a scribe who needed the kind of therapy not best found in a mickey of gin.
My take on Hemingway’s human faults, after reading biographies and now reading the recently published novel The Paris Wife, is that he was suffering from bipolar disorder and a neglected childhood. ‘The sins of the father… ‘ …No one in his era would consider a talented guy mentally ill-they were just ‘larger than life’ or ‘eccentric’. Hemingway’s peers were not much different, living in excess. Hemingway’s huge ego was clearly rooted in an insecurity from an oppressive mother who was living with a sick, depressed husband. A family in crisis obviously. (Murial Hemingway has a vid doc (OWN network) this Saturday- https://m.facebook.com/RunningFromCrazy?id=540588985970860&_rdr )
I also think his second wife, Hadley’s patience and tolerance is derived from her oppressive family. She inspired to remain loyal and build a calm stable home. Unlikely goal given the volatility of her husband and their lifestyle. Hadley found a way to renew her life after leaving Ernest. She was a fascinating woman if the book is remotely representative of the truth. The ‘Paris wife’ seemed to endure above the other dysfunctional contemporaries. I guess I better read Moveable Feast? Should have years ago.
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain.