Elements of Masochism in Hemingway’s Work

  • Richard Fantina


Hemingway’s depictions of masochism, by turns subtle and dramatic, abound in his most important works. This chapter discusses the most salient features of masochism as recognized by commentators, both those within psychoanalysis and those who question many of its premises. Among these are fetishism, humiliation, suspense, the contract, and pain. Sodomy, while it is inherently masochistic, may not be common to all masochists. Yet it was important to Hemingway and is discussed below. But I would like to begin by touching upon another theme common but not exclusive to masochism that runs throughout Hemingway’s fiction: the desire of the male and female lovers to merge their identities into one, an idea that radically questions theories of sexual difference. This desire for a symbiosis has become an important element in recent theorizations of masochism. Hemingway’s preoccupation with this theme merits some exploration.


Short Story Female Phallus Masochistic Sexual Activity Dominant Woman Death Instinct 
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© Richard Fantina 2005

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  • Richard Fantina

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