The Common Hemingway Protagonist Soldier — страница 2
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heroic after denouncing so much of society? If alive today, Hemingway’s answer may very well be “grace under pressure.” Customary in Hemingway’s literary works, such as Santiago in The Old Man and the Sea, the protagonist is always fighting a losing battle. Philip Young, a well-known critic of Hemingway, says it best when he states that in life “you lose, of course; what counts is how you conduct yourself while you are being destroyed” (Young 274). A Hemingway hero would take notice of his ill fate and make the best of it. The motive behind Hemingway’s heroic figures is not glory, or fortune, or the righting of injustice, or the thirst for experience. They are inspired neither by vanity nor ambition nor a desire to better the world. They have no thoughts of reaching a state of higher grace or virtue. Instead, their behavior is a reaction to the moral emptiness of the universe, an emptiness that they feel compelled to fill by their own special efforts. (Gurko 229) In “Soldier’s Home”, Krebs realizes the problems that he faces; he no longer believes in society, particularly love and faith. Krebs heroic deed is displayed when he moves on with his life, rather than bringing it to a screeching halt. At one point, he denounces loving his own mother. In order to satisfy his mother and avoid friction, Krebs holds back the nausea and lies, saying that he does love her. Krebs also announces his plans to move out of town for a job; to get on with his life. No doubt, Krebs displays “grace under pressure.” In the end, the protagonist from “Soldier’s Home”, Krebs, proves himself to be a typical product of Hemingway. Hemingway’s mold often required a character to be socially withdrawn, from women and faith, and to overcome these disillusions by becoming heroic. Krebs succeeded in this mold by engaging in non-sociable activities, ridiculing the complexity of relationships with women, and denouncing his Methodist faith. To top it all off, Krebs can truly be seen as a Hemingway hero by demonstrating grace under pressure. Burhans, Clinton S. Jr. “Hemingway and Vonnegut: Diminishing Vision in a Dying Age.” Modern Fiction Studies (1975): 173-191. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol 8. Eds. Dedria Bryfonski, Phyllis Carmel Mendelson. Detroit: Gale Research Company. 1978. 284-285. Burhans, Clinton S. Jr. “The Complex Unity of ‘In Our Time’.” Modern Fiction Studies. 14 (1968). 313-328. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol 30. Ed. Jean C. Stine, Daniel G. Marowski. Detroit: Gale Research Company. 1984. 188-191. Fiedler, Leslie. “Men without Women.” Love and Death in the American Novel (1959). Rpt. in Hemingway: A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Robert P. Weeks. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc. 1962. 86-92. Gurko, Leo. Ernest Hemingway and the Pursuit of Heroism. (1968). Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism Vol 6. Eds. Carolyn Riley, Phyllis Carmel Mendelson. Detroit: Gale Research Company. 1976. 229. Howe, Irving. A World More Attractive: A View of Modern Literature and Politics. (1963). 65-70. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism Vol 3. Ed. Carolyn Riley. Detroit: Gale Research Company. 1975. 232-233. Young, Philip. “Ernest Hemingway.” American Writers Pamphlet No. 1 (1959). Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol 13. Ed. Dedric Bryfonski. Detroit: Gale Research Company. 1980. 273-276.