Hemingway’s Affirmations:


          Friendship with Real Individuals (not the love of ‘mankind’): Absolute Loyalty

          The Stoicism Which Enables One to Bear Physical or Mental Suffering

          Imagism, not Symbolism: Concrete Imagery Suggestive of Powerful Psychological Forces

          The Direct Experience of Life: Looking Reality Right Between the Eyes

          Moral Action Undertaken in Extremity: The Embodiment of Courage

          Taking Responsibility for the Negative Aspects of Any Moral Choice

          The Discovery of Our Connections to Each Other

          The American Transcendental Philosophy Made Real


Hemingway search for meaning led to few affirmations: he valued the relationships he found with tested friends. To those friends he offered complete loyalty. He found meaning in the stoicism that makes suffering bearable. In Hemingway’s world self-pity and public displays of emotion are expressions of weakness. He did not deny these feelings. Rather he believed that true feeling cannot be articulated, only hinted at in suggestive prose, which describes the ripples on the surface of a river which suggest deep and powerful currents beneath.


Hemingway found moral meaning in the direct experience, the physical sensation of action. You must use all your intelligence to understand the situation as clearly as possible and then act with resolve by doing what seems most right in that particular time and that place, testing, if needs be, your physical and mental endurance beyond what you believe is bearable. In so doing, you participate in the mystery of life and discover courage. In so doing you must accept moral responsibility for the good and the bad consequences of your action. This understanding of moral truth tests and  finds worthy the great American intellectual traditions of the mid-19th century” in Emerson, Thoreau and Whitman.


You must have the courage to act even when no clearly determined path is visible. Amid the confusion, his hero will act with extraordinary courage- despite fear of death- because he believes in people. Certain values thus achieve meaning: love, courage, and loyalty for his friends, his compatriots, and humanity.