Eminent Introduction

“I never had to choose a subject – my subject rather chose me.”

Ernest Miller Hemingway, my eminent person for 2018, is considered one of the greatest authors of all time. His Iceberg Theory influenced modern literature by showing authors that it wasn’t necessary to provide a great amount of detail in order to make a good story. His influences on literature can still be felt today, as his writing style is one of the most popular in the world. He was also a pacifist at a time when the world was war hungry, boldly going against the standards of the time. His writing provided a voice to the lost generation, who were tired of war and dreamed of a world where they could live in peace. His writings brought hope to this generation and contributed to the eventual manifestation of their dream. I believe that the legacy that Hemingway left behind will be remembered for decades to come as they have touched so many people in so many ways. His style will still be practiced because it is one of the most well-known and successful ever developed.

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Hemingway did face many challenges in achieving his status as a literary legend. He struggled with mental illness throughout his adult life, caused by a mix of alcoholism and concussions. He also struggled to maintain relationships, especially romantic, due to a fear of abandonment which caused him to leave his wives because he was paranoid that they would leave him. Hemingway dealt with his illness through drinking and by constantly moving, allowing him to leave his friends and partners before they could leave him. Hemingway wanted loyalty but was so afraid of abandonment that he could never pledge his loyalty to anyone else. Ernest Hemingway is worth researching and remembering because of the valuable lessons that he taught us. Hemingway taught us to be bold, to have patience, and that being successful does not mean conforming to social norms. 

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I am drawn to Hemingway mainly by his unconventional views and life. For someone so famous to be so different from everyone else was rare and often despised by the public, yet Hemingway maintained a respectable reputation throughout his life. This showcases one of the qualities I most admire about Hemingway; his boldness. Hemingway never hid his beliefs from others and was always willing to defend both his beliefs and the beliefs of others. A quality of Hemingway’s that I wish to emulate is his patience. As he once said, “I never had to choose a subject – my subject rather chose me.” Hemingway took his time with all his work, making sure that it was all done to his impeccable standards.

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I may not be as patient as Hemingway, as I feel like I’m trying to rush through life a lot of the time, but I would like to slow down and develop the same patience that he had. Hemingway was always raising the bar for himself and his work, and I think this is very relevant to one of my overarching goals during my time in the Talons program. My goal is to always be improving, and Ernest Hemingway is the embodiment of this goal. I am similar to Hemingway in many ways, but I face a couple of barriers in portraying him. The Table below shows some of the similarities and differences between Ernest Hemingway and myself.

Ernest Hemingway Jackson Cyr
male male
Caucasian, American Caucasian, Canadian
Spent most of life in eastern U.S., Europe, and Cuba Spent entire life in western Canada
Upper class Middle class
Lived in a period of war and instability Lives in a time of peace
Pacifist Pacifist
Had a passion for the outdoors Has a passion for the outdoors
Had Married parents Has divorced parents

He was an upper-class citizen his entire life, whereas I am middle-class, so I have not had the same financial experiences that he had. He also lived in many different places throughout his life, while I have only ever lived in Coquitlam, again providing me with different experiences than Hemingway had. I will address these barriers in my speech by focusing more on his characteristics and personality than his actual living conditions. My next goal in researching the life of Ernest Hemingway will be trying to find someone who knew him and interviewing them to gain more firsthand knowledge of his life.

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