28 Mar 2015

21 Wrenching Ernest Hemingway Quotes On Life And War

Ernest Hemingway saw life as a losing battle. Though life would beat you and shred you and knock your teeth in, Hemingway thought he could save his dignity by living dangerously, but bravely. When he was 19, he wrote in a letter to his family, “And how much better to die in all the happy period of undisillusioned youth, to go out in a blaze of light, than to have your body worn out and old and illusions shattered.”
He valued courage perhaps above all else. Whether fishing for marlin off the coast of Cuba, hunting lions in Kenya, or attempting to do something no one had done before in the medium of fiction, Hemingway tried to live up to his own high standard. He endured on the earth for nearly 62 years before the impulse toward suicide overcame him, as it had overcome his father. Before he died, he created a canon of fine, fictional work that included the novels The Sun Also RisesA Farewell to ArmsTo Have and Have NotFor Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Old Man and the Sea.
The quotes below, drawn from interviews, essays and his books, bear the essence of the philosophy that motivated his life and his exceptional fiction.
1. From The Old Man and the Sea:
Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.
2. Advice to a young writer:
When people talk listen completely. Most people never listen.
3. “The fun of talk is to explore.”
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Hemingway Quotes Fun Talk
4. “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
5. “An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools.”

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 Ernest Hemingway saw life as a losing battle. Though life would beat you and shred you and knock your teeth in, Hemingway thought he could save his dignity by living dangerously, but bravely. When he was 19, he wrote in a letter to his family, “And how much better to die in all the happy period of undisillusioned youth, to go out in a blaze of light, than to have your body worn out and old and illusions shattered.”
He valued courage perhaps above all else. Whether fishing for marlin off the coast of Cuba, hunting lions in Kenya, or attempting to do something no one had done before in the medium of fiction, Hemingway tried to live up to his own high standard. He endured on the earth for nearly 62 years before the impulse toward suicide overcame him, as it had overcome his father. Before he died, he created a canon of fine, fictional work that included the novels The Sun Also RisesA Farewell to ArmsTo Have and Have NotFor Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Old Man and the Sea.
The quotes below, drawn from interviews, essays and his books, bear the essence of the philosophy that motivated his life and his exceptional fiction.
1. From The Old Man and the Sea:
Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.
2. Advice to a young writer:
When people talk listen completely. Most people never listen.
3. “The fun of talk is to explore.”
  
4. “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
5. “An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools.”

6. “The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof, shit detector. This is the writer’s radar and all great writers have had it.”
7. From Green Hills of Africa:
All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn… American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.
8. In a letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald:
Forget your personal tragedy. We are all bitched from the start and you especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt use it—don’t cheat with it. Be as faithful to it as a scientist—but don’t think anything is of importance because it happens to you or anyone who belongs to you. About this time I wouldn’t blame you if you gave me a burst. Jesus, it’s marvellous to tell other people how to write, live, die, etc.
9. In another letter to Fitzgerald:
The good parts of a book may be only something a writer is lucky enough to overhear or it may be the wreck of his whole damn life — and one is as good as the other.
10. From another letter to FSF:
That is what we are supposed to do when we are at our best — make it all up — but make it up so truly that later it will happen that way.
11. From A Moveable Feast:
Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.
12. From his essay “Notes on the Next War”:
They wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country. But in modern war there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason.

 13. From A Farewell to Arms:
The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry. 
14. “Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.” 
15. From his book on Spanish bullfighting, Death in the Afternoon:
The individual, the great artist when he comes, uses everything that has been discovered or known about his art up to that point, being able to accept or reject in a time so short it seems that the knowledge was born with him, rather than that he takes instantly what it takes the ordinary man a lifetime to know, and then the great artist goes beyond what has been done or known and makes something of his own.
16. From the same book:
There are some things which cannot be learned quickly, and time, which is all we have, must be paid heavily for their acquiring. They are the very simplest things and because it takes a man’s life to know them the little new that each man gets from life is very costly and the only heritage he has to leave.
17. From The Old Man and the Sea
Every day above earth is a good day. 
18. In a letter to the writer Malcolm Cowley:
You see it’s awfully hard to talk or write about your own stuff because if it is any good you yourself know about how good it is — but if you say so yourself you feel like a shit.
19. From his essay “A Letter from Cuba”:
All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse, and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer.
20. From his preface to a collection of his short stories:
In going where you have to go, and doing what you have to do, and seeing what you have to see, you dull and blunt the instrument you write with. But I would rather have it bent and dulled and know I had to put it on the grindstone again and hammer it into shape and put a whetstone to it, and know that I had something to write about, than to have it bright and shining and nothing to say, or smooth and well oiled in the closet, but unused.
21. From For Whom the Bell Tolls:
The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for and I hate very much to leave it.

4 comments:

  1. He definitely understood the human symptom!

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  2. Sadly for Mr Hemingway, he had little or no spiritual foundation for balance.

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  3. “All thinking men are atheists.”
    ― Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

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  4. Yup. He was so euphoric about being an atheist, he blew his brains out. Everyone has a choice what where to place their faith. Mine is not in men. Best of luck.

    ReplyDelete