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The Snows of Kilimanjaro

Symbolism
by

Brett Carson

on 15 October 2012

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Transcript of The Snows of Kilimanjaro

The Snows of Kilimanjaro
By Ernest Hemingway Symbolism The Leopard The leopard is a creature of grace and strength; it symbolizes dignity, and is the antithesis of Harry. "Close to the western summit there is the dried and frozen carcass of a leopard” (Hemingway, 1). Hemingway is expressing that through the arduous journey to the “House of God” the leopard has achieved immortality, it’s grace and dignity to be preserved atop Kilimanjaro for eons. The leopard’s journey to “God” is in complete contrast to Harry’s life; Harry has spent his life taking the easy route, living off of wealthy women and from a fear of failure was disinclined to write about his greatest life experiences. The Hyena “Outside the tent the hyena made the same strange noise that awakened her. But she did not hear him for the beating of her heart.”(Hemingway, 15). Hyena’s are creatures of deception and scavenging, the hyena is the animal embodiment of Harry. Harry has spent his life deceiving women in order to gain luxury and comfort from them. Even as he is dying he maintains the deception “'I’ve never loved anyone else the way I love you'. He slipped into the familiar lie he made his bread and butter by.”(Hemingway, 5). his wife goes out and hunts for him while he lies on the cot, just like the hyena he lives off of the scraps of the mightier hunters. The Plains/Mountains The plains of Africa are a volatile and precarious place; in the story the plains symbolize a place of punishment for Harry’s endangered spirit. It is on the plains that Harry injures his leg, which infects and ultimately kills him “It’s western summit is called (..) the House of God”( Hemingway 1). Due to Harry’s spiritual death, which happened long before his physical death he dies in the plains instead of the mountains. When Harry physically dies he envisions himself flying to the House of God “all he could see (..) was the square top of Kilimanjaro. And then he knew that was where he was going.”(Hemingway, 15). It is never revealed if Harry indeed makes it to the House of God, it is up to the reader to decide if he deserves to find God. Gangrene "Since the gangrene had started in his right leg
he had no pain and with the pain the horror had gone and all he felt now was a great tiredness and anger that this was the end of it"(Hemingway, 2). Harry’s gangrenous leg is a parallel to his spiritual and creative self. His physical body is declining into the shameful decayed state in which his spirit has already degenerated to. Harry realizes that his spirit is decayed “ ‘Harry (..) You’re out of your head’ ‘No. I haven’t any head to go out of’”(Hemingway, 3). It is because of this sad state that Harry has developed into that he takes the realization of his own death so lightly “Can’t you let a man die as comfortably as he can without calling him names?”(Hemingway, 1). In conclusions Harry dies a failure, far from the man he wishes he could’ve been. Harry Thus Harry, of "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" is Hemingway: a Hemingway who succumbed to temptation, who became soft and lazy, who allowed his talent to rot, and who fell into a stinking living death (Gengrene is a flesh eating disease.) We might call Harry Hemingway's twin. Hemingway is taking Harry to the place of judgment, is offering the review of his life, is apparently passing judgment, and is sending him off to hell or heaven. Helen Characters - Hemmingway based this character off of himself
- He made Harry very realistic drawing on his own professional resume to create a journalistic background for Harry
- Hemmingway devised up this character based on what he hoped to feel once his life comes to an end. To look face death and to look back on life knowing that he lived it to its fullest Snows of
Kilimanjaro - Helen is considered one of Hemmingways
most heroic women for her selfless love and
respect for Harry
- She had been devoted to her first husband who died just as their two children had grown and left home, leaving her quite alone and needing to build a new life.
- To deal with her depression Helen took to lovers
When one of her children was killed in a plane crash, she was devastated and scared. She no longer wanted lovers; she wanted a solid relationship, and she found Harry.
- Helen admired his books and thought his life exciting. She had started a new life with him, and in turn, he had lost his old life. Question: Why do you think Hemmingway devised up his character Harry based off of himself? And do you think Harry went to Heaven or hell when he died? Ernest Hemingway is a master of imagery especially visual imagery which he is renowned for, this is very prevalent throughout The Snows of Kilimanjaro. Imagery "He looked over to where the huge, filthy birds sat, their naked heads sunk in the hunched feathers". "There was a log house, chinked white mortar, on a hill above the lake. There was a bell on a pole by the door to call the people in to meals. Behind the house were fields and behind the fields was the timber. A line of lombardy poplars ran from the house to the dock". Imagery is so overwhelming and important in this story, it brings us up and down. It shows us the important things in life and the places you cherish like "Place Contrescarpe where the flower sellers dyed their flowers in the street and the dye ran over the paving where the autobus started and the old men and the women, always drunk on wine and bad mare; the smell of dirty sweat and poverty". This imagery creates the feeling of an awful environment yet one where the protagonist had the greatest times, it also shows the theme that money can spoil you and that its not always a good thing. The settings and the imagery in this story explain so much about Harry's life, what hes done. The settings are so vividly described that its almost like actually being there. The Mountains of Kilimanjaro is the strongest and most representative piece of imagery in the story, we know that its just a mountain but its implied as a sort of heaven or majestic place where one can rest for eternity which is shown by the leopard " Close to the western summit there is the dried and frozen carcass of a leopard. No one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude". The leopard has become this sacred symbol as it has entombed itself in a magical yet hostile environment where a leopard would never be able to survive. Harry because he had three key events of good in his life that he is able to escape the same place. Question Why do you think that the Ernest didn't just end the story when Harry was atop of Kilimanjaro? Why did he include that tiny excerpt of Helen? Why do you think Question:
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