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Born in Chicago in 1899, Hemingway lived an idyllic childhood spending time on the northern lakes of Michigan and developing a strong relationship with his father who was a doctor. In writing about his childhood, Hemingway fictionalized himself as Nick Adams.
Hemingway worked as a reporter at the Kansas City Star until enlisting in the army and becoming an ambulance driver. Wounded by an explosion, Hemingway fell in love with a nurse who broke his heart, which he remedied by over-indulging in women and alcohol.
Like many veterans, Hemingway had trouble readjusting to life at home until he met his first wife and moved to Paris. In Paris, Hemingway developed his writing under mentors, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, and Ezra Pound.
Hemingway changed American writing by using a journalistic approach of rendering images as briefly and precisely as possible, without inserting opinion. This is the technique Hemingway employed in "Big Two-Hearted River."
In 1923 Hemingway traveled to Madrid where he became fixated with bull-fighting and death. Fascinated with violence, Hemingway found that the way men behave under pressure determines their character.
F. Scott Fitzgerald brought Hemingway's work to the attention of American publishers who published a collection of Hemingway's short stories, "In Our Time" in 1925. Hemingway's fictional account of the Pamplona bull run was published the next year.
Hemingway went through a period where his public image and lifestyle captured the public imagination even more than his literary works. Always drawn to danger, Hemingway fictionalized a 1932 hunting trip to Kenya for his next book.
Reporting on the Spanish Civil War in 1936, Hemingway went to Spain and wrote a fictionalized account of the war, "For Whom the Bell Tolls." In 1943, a film adaptation of the book, staring Gary Cooper, brought further fame to Hemingway.
Hemingway bought a house in Cuba with his third wife, journalist Martha Gellhorn. Gellhorn, still in the peak of her career had no desire to settle down. Hemingway joined Martha in Europe to report on the events of World War II.
After his marriage to Gellhorn ended, Hemingway married Mary Welsh and moved back to Cuba where he spent his time writing and marlin fishing, which inspired "The Old Man and the Sea," which won both the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize.
Writing meant more to Ernest Hemingway than anything else in life and when the ability to write was threatened he couldn't go on. Electroshock treatment only aggravated Hemingway's mental condition; he commited suicide July 2, 1961.
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