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Reflections on Death in The Snows of Kilimanjaro

Reflections on Death in The Snows of Kilimanjaro

Hemingway’s The Snows of Kilimanjaro is stereotypical of “The Lost Generation” and their values. They were a generation of expatriated US writers that lived and wrote between the Great Wars and thought of themselves separates from the postwar values and “above” the materialistic western society and continuously question morality and philosophy in their work. They tended to think very little of the rich people. These reflections on life are clear during Harry’s retrospectives all throughout the story. In this all around depressing story, Harry is in Africa with his wife and a few days back scratched his leg and it got infected to the point of gangrene. Since the begging of the story Harry is well aware he is going to die and reflects back on his life and his failure as a writer and to some point as a human being.

“I watched the way they sailed very carefully at first in case I ever wanted to use them in a story. That’s funny now.”1 In this sentence Harry reflects on the buzzards that are attracted by the odor of impending death and how as many other things he wanted to write about and thought he would, he never will now. There are several anecdotes throughout the story that all by themselves could be whole stories, but Harry just never got around to writing about them probably because he did not have confidence in himself as a writer. “But he had never written a line of that, nor of that cold, bright Christmas day with the mountains showing across the plain that Barker had flown across the lines to bomb the Austrian officers’ leave train, machine-gunning them as they scattered and ran.” 2 This is one of the many experiences the narrator has during his life…

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…that at the end would be something welcome as a weight lifted off his chest.



1 Hemingway, Ernest, “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” in The Norton Anthology: American Literature, fourth edition-volume 2, page 1635.

2 Hemingway, page 1638.

3 Hemingway, page 1637.

4 Hemingway, page 1637.

5 Hemingway, page 1639.

6 Hemingway, page 1640.

7 Hemingway, page 1640.

8 Hemingway, page 1634.

9 Hemingway, page 1643.

10 Hemingway, page 1651.

11 Hemingway, page 1650-51.

12 Hemingway, page 1650.

Other Referenced material not cited.

13 Wilson, M. (2000, October 23). The Hemingway Resource Center (Online). Available:

14 Ogunsuyi, Dr. Austin (2001, September ). African Culture (Online). Available :

An Analysis of Robert Ji-Song Ku’s Leda

An Analysis of Robert Ji-Song Ku’s Leda

In Robert Ji-Song Ku’s short story “Leda,” the main character, Sorin, leads a life of imitation. He applies himself to his graduate studies in comparative literature a little too readily: he compares not just text to text; he also compares his life to text, to “works of literature” (Wong 281). If his life does not match that of at least one literary character on several levels of interpretation, whether emotional, physical, or mental, he changes his behavior so that it will. For example, he begins to “smoke and drink – heavily…simply because every one of Hemingway’s heroes did it. For a while I drank only vodka martinis in public because I read that James Bond drank it exclusively … I … also smoked [his] particular brand of cigarettes” (280). In “Leda,” the two influential “oeuvres” (280) are Junichiro Tanizaki’s The Bridge of Dreams, a “haunting retelling of the Oedipal myth” (281), and the story of Leda, in Greek mythology. Both have extensive influence on Sorin, and their influences intertwine in his behavior to the extent that it is difficult to separate and identify each.

“Leda” is primarily an Oedipal tale thanks to the influence of Bridge, but, as Sorin “frequently finds himself doing things, saying things, and make certain choices [because] … some of the most intriguing characters in books have done the same,” he mixes Oedipus with Zeus, Castor and Pollux to produce the character he becomes when interacting with Leda, his lover. Oedipus, of course, is the Greek dramatic character who, when he discovers he has married his mother and has had children with her, gouges his eyes out. Zeus is the philandering Greek father of the gods who, according to Greek l…

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…or having lived his life vicariously.

Works Cited

“Castor and Polydeuces.” Microsoft Encarta Online. 27 February 1999

“Cheju Island.” 17 February 1999

Criss, P. J. “Leda.” 17 February 1999

Hefner, Alan G. “Zeus.” The Encyclopedia Mythica. 27 February 1999

“Leda and the Constellation Cygnus.” Department of Engineering, University of Michigan. 17 February 1999

Webb, Ruth H. “Leda.” 17 February 1999

Wong, Shawn, ed. Asian American Literature: A Brief Introduction and Anthology. New York: Harper Collins College Publishers, 1996.

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