Voice, Imagery, Symbols And Theme In Snows Of Kilimanjaro

1322 words - 6 pages

Voice, Imagery, Symbols and Theme in Snows of Killamanjaro

The Snows of Kilimanjaro, a short story by Ernest Hemingway, is a brilliant study of a man's final hours precluding death.  The story centers around Harry and his wife, waiting for a plane to come and take him to a doctor or hospital.  Thus begins a stream of passages that takes the reader along with Harry while he drifts in and out of consciousness, moving from one life to the next.  The obvious theme is death and dying, but the home theme is Harry's return to his past, and his journey to the present. 

Hemingway uses animal imagery in the story to reflect the dying theme, and to show two distinct sides of Harry, and his ...view middle of the document...

  "They've been there since the day the truck broke down. Today's the first time any have lit on the ground."   He then changes direction, as he accepts the dying phases, when he describes the zebra, "white against the green of bush. The was a pleasant camp under big trees against a hill, with good water, and close by, a nearly dry water hole where sand grouse flighted in the mornings."   In this passage he has become the other side of Harry, the side that is reflecting his passing life.  When his wife goes off to kill a piece of meat for dinner, it causes him to think about their life together, a looking back at this present/past that he is just now living.  His life with her was a contradiction between lying and love, as are his dying thoughts, and you can see his struggle.  "Now if this was how it ended, and he knew it was, he must not turn like some snake biting itself because its back was broken.  It wasn't this woman's fault.  If it had not been she it would have been another. If he lived by a lie he should try to die by it."   Again to describe the creeping of death the hyena enters: "While it grew dark they drank and just before it was dark and there was no longer enough light to shoot, a hyena crossed the open on his way around the hill."

Hemingway has a lyrical and musical voice.   His shifting from one phase of life to another is represented in the change of meter and style.   In the passages where Harry is awake, the writing style is simple and concise.  His musings are matter of fact, and concrete, always looking at the past, and bringing it to the present.  He talks about this woman, and that woman, but always returning to this woman, his present wife  "So, he said to himself, we did well to stop the quarrelling.  He had never quarreled much with this woman, , while with the woman that he loved he had quarreled so much they had finally, always, with the corrosion of the quarrelling, killed what they had together.  He had loved too much, demanded too much, and he wore it all out."  When Harry drifts out of consciousness the style changes. It becomes more melodious and romantic.  His use of language becomes more poetic and less direct, bringing forth an inner voice, that mitigates his spirituality or his manifestation into the next realm.  "He thought about alone in Constantinople that time, having quarreled in Paris before he had gone out..  He had whored the whole time and then, when that was over, and he had failed to kill his loneliness, but only made it worse, he had...

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