The Adamic myth in the works of Ernest Hemingway
Ryan, Anna Gayle
Dowden, W. S.
Master of Arts
Upon the death of any author we re-evaluate his Works, searching for the unifying principle of development. Looking beneath the surface to see a greater,portion of the iceberg of Ernest Hemingway's artistry, I believe that a conceptual framework, a principle of development can be seen in his works. Reflecting a morally and spiritually chaotic period in history, Hemingway is the voice of the Experience of Men, searching for redemption after the Fall, struggling against evil, for embodied within his works is the universal mythic structure, the Adamic concept. The purpose of this study is to show the development of this structure and the affinity with the Biblical concept of a fallen Adam state of grace through a second Adam, Christ--in other words; one Adam attempting to regain paradise or a "wise innocence" through the simplicity of the code of a second Adam. Since myth, essentially an approach of the "new" critics, has been variously defined, the first chapter of the thesis is devoted to a discussion of myth and archetypal theory as critical tools. This critical movement sees literature as communication through consciously or subconsciously organised, created form employing the medium of words. After a discussion of the definitions of myth and archetype set forth by Schorer, Murray, and Frye, a comprehensive definition is established. Then, to establish a tradition in which to study Hemingway, the second chapter of the thesis draws from the recent scholarship showing that American life and literature is permeated by an admittedly ambiguous Adamic figure. The third chapter, concerned with some treatments of Hemingway's life . and fiction, depicts him as a neurotic whose fiction is an attempt to purge himself of his initial experience in war on the ltalian front and/or as a classical existentialist constantly seeking the moment of being Incorporating aspects of both the .psychoanalytic and philosophical views, another interpretation is advanced---that his life and fiction reveal the search of an Adam before and after the Fall. Chapter Four shows the Adamic concept in the Nick Adams stories, where a young boy's education in the world leads to his ultimate disillusionment, psychic wounding or fall, and attempts to establish a "separate peace." The concept of a fallen, pre-Incarnation Adam struggling to find a plan of redemption is then delineated in Hemingway's first serious novel, The Sun Also Rises. Finally, Chapter Five shows Hemingway's use of the narrative of the Adam secundus in A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Across the River and Into the Trees, and The Old Man and the Sea, where his philosophy of Man is elevated to a religion by the use of allegory.