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Abstract

Ernest Hemingway, long regarded as the personification of All-American dominant male values, reveals a contradiction in his portrayal of the ideal woman. Far from upholding the image of the macho warrior, he often suggests a profoundly submissive and passive side to his sexuality both in his work and in what can be read between the lines of his biography. The ideal Hemingway woman—as revealed in The Sun Also Rises (1926), A Farewell to Arms (1929), Across the River and Into the Trees (1950), and other texts—demonstrates power and a will to dominate. This becomes particularly apparent in the posthumous The Garden of Eden (1986), in which Hemingway celebrates a woman who manipulates and controls the sexual relationship with her husband. The dominance of Catherine Bourne in that novel has led some scholars to reappraise the foundations of Hemingway’s machismo, which coexists with an alternative, masochistic sexuality. The mythical image of Hemingway as the embodiment of virility in his writings, his exploits, and his very physical presence, asserts itself as quintessentially dominant and aggressive masculinity. Only with difficulty can we visualize a man with Hemingway’s imposing, hirsute, and muscular appearance, and his hard-boiled style of writing and conversation, as submissive to women.

Keywords

Traditional Gender Role Compulsory Heterosexuality Masochistic Sexuality Passive Side Dominant Woman 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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© Richard Fantina 2005

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  • Richard Fantina

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