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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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3. Utopian Promise   

11. Modernist Portraits

•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
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•  Activities
- Overview Questions
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- Creative Response
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Activities: Author Activities

Ernest Hemingway - Author Questions

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  1. Comprehension: Like Hemingway, the main character of "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" is a writer. What does the story suggest about the way writers think? What is the significance of the subjects Harry wants to address in his writing? How do you interpret the settings of the stories he wishes to write and the setting in which he is dying? What could the dream at the end of the story mean? What is the significance of his going to Kilimanjaro?

  2. Comprehension: Hemingway was known for his stylistic innovations. In this story, he uses italics to construct a parallel narrative to the primary one. How do the italicized and unitalicized sections of the story work together? How are their styles different? What is revealed in the italicized sections that does not appear elsewhere?

  3. Context: Harry is dying from gangrene that developed from a trivial and untreated scratch. What does this cause of death say about the masculine valor Harry prizes? Look at other post-World War I texts that deal with manhood and its relation to death, such as T. S. Eliot's "The Hollow Men" or E. E. Cummings's "next to of course god america i." What commentary do these works make on the amount of power and control men have over their lives?

  4. Exploration: What modernist techniques does this story employ? What do you see in the narrative structure or style as specifically modernist? Consider this work in conjunction with T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land or "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" or the spare poetry of William Carlos Williams.

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