A proported Hemingway quote: "There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self."
It's an idea that speaks to the need to question oneself, and this according to some people Hemingway did not do enough. David Brooks writes in today New York Times (27 Apr '16):
He was an extremely sensitive man, who suffered much from the merest slights, but was also an extremely dominating, cruel and self-indulgent one, who judged his wives harshly, slapped them when angry and forced them to bear all the known forms of disloyalty.
By this time, much of his writing rang false. Reviewer after reviewer said he had destroyed his own talent. His former mentor Gertrude Stein said he was a coward.
One needs not only to know that it's good to question oneself. One needs the courage to do so without self-constructed barriers of defense.
Brooks ends his article about Hemiingway saying about his house in Cuba:
There is something heroic that happened in this house. Hemingway was a man who embraced every self-indulgence that can afflict a successful person. But at moments he shed all that he had earned and received, and rediscovered the hard-working, clear-seeing and unadorned man he used to be.
Copyright © 2016 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.