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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Ernest Hemingway : the pattern of the quest Farquhar, Robin H.


Structural pattern is a very important aspect of any novel and an understanding of it often leads to a much better comprehension of a particular work than is otherwise available. This is true of the novels of Ernest Hemingway, yet the structural patterns of his major works have been somewhat neglected by his many critics. It will be shown in this thesis that the conventional dramatic structure is basic to Hemingway's four major novels: A Farewell to Arms. The Sun Also Rises. For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Old Man and the Sea. These four novels will be studied in terms of the introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and catastrophe in each. This will lead to a better understanding of the unity, motivation, conflicts, points of crisis, movement, and themes of the novels. It will indicate the essentially dramatic, and, at times, tragic nature of them, and it will lead eventually to a good understanding of Hemingway's attitude toward man and life. It will also indicate the basic importance of this pattern to Hemingway's work by demonstrating that the pattern is almost identical in every one of the four novels. Having thus established the predominance of this particular pattern in the work of Ernest Hemingway, this thesis will advance the conclusion that the pattern must, because of its frequency, be essential to Hemingway's mind, and that, for this reason, one cannot hope to understand his work with any approach to thoroughness without being fully aware of the pattern. The purpose of the thesis, then, is dual: to demonstrate that Hemingway possessed a clear consciousness of form, despite the contrary views of some of his critics, and to show that he succeeded in constructing all of his major novels in accordance with a particular dramatic pattern. In studying the predominance of the dramatic pattern in Hemingway's four major novels, it will be shown that the respective heroes of these works are all attempting, through different means, to escape from the decadence and limited happiness of life in modern society, and to find some source of meaning in life, some basis for a belief that there is a purpose in living. It will be shown that, barring religion, the only way in which one may achieve any sense of meaning and purpose in life is, according to Hemingway, through one's love for his fellow man. The ultimate aim here, then, is to present a structurally oriented method for studying the work of Ernest Hemingway which will lead to a clearer and more complete understanding of what he is trying to say and do in that work.

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