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Psychology. Ernest Hemingway and His Personality

Ernest Hemingway and his works have become unique cultural phenomena in their own right due to the immense importance of the revolutionized approach to literature. Moreover, the writer’s biography not only allows for a better understanding of his works but also helps realize the spirit of an entire generation. The strive for freedom, justice, and brightness in life has led Hemingway to manifest these virtues both by his actions and by the short stories that continue to be perceived as laconic masterpieces even though these works do not resemble many other world-known literary works of art. Hemingway managed to create a wide array of various stories that promote similar basic ideas despite providing a completely different setting and atmosphere.

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The prominent American writer clearly did not have to invent most of the plots and the events, as his background and experience provided him with an astonishing amount of real-life stories. Moreover, the plots of Hemingway’s books could explain the numerous processes that shaped the first part of the 20th century. Thus, the American writer’s success can be partially attributed to the legacy of his work as a journalist. The numerous countries this person has visited under extraordinary circumstances can fascinate even modern people. To fully realize the source of Hemingway’s passion for an active lifestyle, journeys, and a certain set of values, one should analyze his personality.

There are numerous personality theories that seek to examine a person from completely different perspectives. Different frameworks provide great tools that can contribute to the creation of a full picture of Hemingway’s personality and explain the phenomenon of his success. A person whose career is based primarily on writing laconic novels and short stories led him to win the Nobel Prize in Literature is an outstanding figure that is of major interest to me. Therefore, this work seeks to examine Hemingway by utilizing theoretical perspectives covered in the class. I have chosen to apply the theories of Alfred Adler, Albert Bandura, and Erik Erikson with the aim of providing a comprehensive illustration of all the notable features of Hemingway’s personality.

It should be noted that Hemingway himself emphasized the role of a personality in his books. The prominent American writer did not often utilize the common archetypes to make the plot more complex and intriguing. Instead, he preferred to examine the inner driving factors behind a person’s actions. Many of his books are centered around the transition that the protagonist has to go through in order to answer a set of most important questions in life.

Philosophy and psychology are intertwined in Hemingway’s books, which makes the analysis of the writer’s personality a more comprehensive task. Protagonists of many of Hemingway’s books have to experience various struggles and war episodes. The fact that some of the personality development features described in his books actually represent the writer’s own development contributes to the analysis presented in this book.

Alfred Adler’s theory

Alfred Adler emphasized holism in his “Individual Psychology” and sought to examine all the major processes that contribute to personality development as integral parts of a personality. Sabates (2020) claims that the theory of organic inferiority and compensation plays a central role in the numerous concepts created by the prominent Austrian psychologist. Alfred Adler was a social idealist, and the theory developed by him highlighted democratic principles in many aspects of people’s lives. For instance, the psychologist advocated the prevention of various mental health problems by promoting humane and tolerant approaches to children’s upbringing. Adler emphasized the importance of childhood experiences and believed that most of the personality features revealed throughout a person’s life could be attributed primarily to inferiority and superiority complexes.

Hemingway’s childhood experiences allowed him to develop a sense of dignity, optimism, and self-confidence. The American writer was one of the six children of a happy, well-educated couple. Flora (2020) notes that the enthusiasm with which his parents sought to encourage their children to be involved in completely different types of activities, ranging from sports to playing the cello, undoubtfully uninfluenced the future writer. Although excessive enthusiasm could probably influence Hemingway’s attitude to his mother, the boy definitely developed a sense that he can succeed in almost any activity he wants with a certain amount of toil involved.

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Despite all other factors, the generally supportive attitude to Hemingway’s childhood activities has, according to Adler’s theory, inspired him to seek success and acknowledgment in an entirely different sphere. Adler’s theory implies that The desires of the self-ideal can be hindered by social and ethical demands (Schultz & Schultz, 2017). The struggle that originates from this controversy also became a major theme in Hemingway’s novels and short stories. Moreover, Hemingway was inspired by people’s ability to be polymaths and be involved in completely different types of activities. Moreover, despite some controversies, his childhood experiences contributed greatly to the acceptance of being bilingual and bicultural as a norm (Monteiro, 2020). Such a stance is vivid in most of Hemingway’s novels, where the protagonist is bilingual and bicultural and lives abroad.

Erik Erikson

The works of Erik Erikson primarily explain the various stages that a person has to go through to fully succeed in his/her personality development. The lack of experience that I associated with each exact stage can substantially undermine further life experiences. Erikson stressed the importance of ego for personality development and claimed that it is not inferior to the id. The environment where one’s childhood years are spent is crucial for developing the most important life perspectives and acceptable norms of behavior. Moreover, the concept of the importance of prolonged adolescence that was emphasized by Erik Erikson in his works is vivid in Hemingway’s case.

Erik Erikson stressed that the ego identity is the awareness of self-sameness and continuity to the ego’s synthesizing methods and continuity of one’s meaning for others (Rosegrant, 2020). Hemingway was determined in his desire to enlighten a general audience and promote numerous humane ideas during the period of human history that was marked by never-ending wars. The passion that he showed in his attempts to do so shows the importance of serving others and being a productive member of society for Hemingway. Therefore, according to Erikson’s theory, Hemingway represents a great example of a person who managed to develop and enhance his personality by obtaining experience from each of Erikson’s eight crucial stages.

Albert Bandura

Albert Bandura developed a sophisticated approach to behaviorism and cognitive psychology. The ideas proposed by him allow for a comprehensive understanding of the behavior patterns that a child rapidly accepts due to the lengthy observation and imitation processes. The observations and experiences from childhood tend to constitute the bulk of the actors that influence the decision-making process and lifestyle in general. The fact that Hemingway spent almost all his life traveling to exotic locations and taking part in activities that are generally considered undesirable or even horrifying can be explained by childhood experiences. The prominent American writer spent a substantial part of his childhood camping in the woods, hunting, and fishing.

Comparing personalities

I suppose that Ernest Hemingway was an important historical figure, as he helped to change the perceptions and beliefs of the entire generation through his easy-to-read novels and short stories. I believe that the key features of Hemingway’s personality that I like helped him succeed in doing so. I think I am a very active person who is always open to new ideas and new experiences. One of my major goals in life is to acquire as many skills and knowledge as possible to actively improve the world by helping struggling communities worldwide. I suppose that I like Hemingway for the abovementioned features I have attributed to myself.

Like Hemingway, I had a childhood full of happy moments, friendly people, and plenty of outdoor activities. According to Bandura’s theory described by Rumjaun and Narod (2020), it has shaped me a lot, just like Ernest Hemingway. My strive to contribute to the enhancement of living standards across the globe by educating people and, hopefully, mitigating numerous crises that can lead to armed conflicts can also be explained by Erikson’s theory.

Some of the norms and expectations of others contrast with the ideal vision of myself and my life goals. The fact that it fuels the inner struggle I have to experience can be explained by Alfred Adler’s ideas on the imbalances between one’s ideas and chances to implement them. Such desires are dictated by the ego, and the inability to follow them may even lead to severe repercussions. I believe that my worldview has influenced my perceptions of the abovementioned theories and the biography of Ernest Hemingway greatly. I tend to emphasize childhood experiences and perceive the complexes and the desires from that period as the major driving factors behind the most significant decision a person makes during his/her lifetime.

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Flora, J. M. (2020). The man who wasn’t there: A life of Ernest Hemingway by Richard Bradford. The Hemingway Review, 40(1), 126–131. Web.

Monteiro, G. (2020). The influence of Spanish writers on Hemingway. The Hemingway Review, 39(2), 64–79. Web.

Rosegrant, J. (2020). Review of The clinical Erik Erikson [Review of the book The clinical Erik Erikson, by S. Schlein]. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 9. Web.

Rumjaun, A., & Narod, F. (2020). Social learning theory – Albert Bandura. In B. Akpan & T.J. Kennedy (Eds.), Science education in theory and practice (pp. 85–99). Springer. Web.

Sabates, A. M. (2020). Individual psychology of Alfred Adler. The Wiley Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences: Models and Theories, 111–115. Web.

Schultz, D. P., & Schultz, S. E. (2017). Theories of personality (11th ed.). Cengage Learning.

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