HIS EARLY LIFE
ERNEST HEMINGWAY was one of the great American writers of the twentieth century. He was born on 21 July 1899, in Oak Park, Illinois, the second of six children. His family was strict and very religious. His father taught his children a love of nature and the outdoor life. Ernest caught his first fish at the age of three, and was given a shotgun for his twelfth birthday. His mother taught him a love of music and art. At school, he was good at English and wrote for the school newspaper. He graduated in 1917, but he didn't go to college. He went to Kansas City and worked as a journalist for the Star newspaper. He learned a lot, but left after only six months to go to war.
HEMINGWAY AND WAR
Hemingway was fascinated by war. He had wanted to become a soldier, but couldn't because he had poor eyesight. Instead, in the First World War, he became an ambulance driver and was sent to Italy, where he was wounded in 1918. After the war, he went to live in Paris, where he was encouraged in his work by the American writer Gertrude Stein. In the 1930s, he became a war correspondent in the Spanish Civil War and World War II. Many of his books were about war. His most successful book, For Whom the Bell Tolls, was written in 1940 and is about the Spanish Civil War. Another novel, A Farewell to Arms, is about the futility of war.
HIS PERSONAL LIFE
Hemingway's success in writing was not mirrored by similar success in his personal life. He married four times. His first wife divorced him in 1927. He immediately married again and moved to Key West, Florida, where he enjoyed hunting, fishing, and drinking, but he also suffered from depression. This wasn't helped when, in 1928, his father committed suicide. Hemingway's health was not good and he had many accidents. Two more marriages failed and he began to drink heavily. In 1954, he survived two plane crashes. In October of the same year he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature, but he was too ill to receive it in person.
HIS FINAL YEARS
His final years were taken up with health problems and alcohol. He began to lose his memory and he couldn't write any more. On Sunday, 2 July 1961, Belt Toes Hemingway killed himself with a shotgun, just as his father had done before him.