July 22, 2003
Ernest Hemingway was a writer who excelled at breaking all the rules. For the man known as "Papa", the human potential had no limits. Hemingway proved that a man is able to find himself as a big-game hunter, a bullfighter, or a guerilla warrior. In his Nobel-Prize acceptance speech, delivered by John Cabot, the US Ambassador to Sweden, Hemingway observed, "For a true writer, each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done."
Born July 21, 1899 in Oak Park, IL to Dr. Clarence and Grace Hemingway, Ernest was the second of six children to be raised in the quiet suburban town by his physician father and devout, musical mother. Young Hemingway enjoyed accompanying his father on hunting and fishing trips; this love of outdoor adventure would become the catalyst for many of his stories, particularly those featuring the protagonist Nick Adams.
His aptitude for physical challenge remained with him throughout his youth; he played football and boxed. Because of permanent eye damage caused by numerous boxing matches, Hemingway was repeatedly rejected from service during World War I.
Soon after his graduation from high school, Hemingway was able to participate in World War I as an ambulance driver for the American Red Cross. In July of 1918 he was wounded on the Italian front near Fossalta di Piave. Hemingway was given two decorations by the Italian government and joined the Italian infantry. Fighting on the Italian front inspired the plot for A Farewell to Arms in 1929, arguably the finest novel to emerge from World War I.
Divided into five books, analogous to the five acts of Shakespearean tragedy, Hemingway once referred...