Machismo and masochism in Ernest Hemingway

Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor's Name

Bruce Harvey

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Richard Sugg

Third Advisor's Name

Mary Free

Date of Defense



The thesis seeks to contribute to the body of knowledge in literary gender studies by probing the conflicting views of masculinity found in the work of Ernest Hemingway. The major texts, The Sun Also Rises (1926), A Farewell to Arms (1929), Death in the Afternoon (1932), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940), and The Garden of Eden (1986), demonstrate a pattern which can be identified with elements often referred to as "androgynous." Masochism, as a core component of this "androgyny," will be isolated and explored. Drawing upon both psychoanalytical and literary commentators, this study locates Hemingway's work within a tradition of literary masochism. Recent scholars differ as to the potential social benefits of this tradition. Although Hemingway employs certain themes and devices associated with literary masochism, this study argues that one should not associate these with a progressive view of gender. Hemingway's commitment to a more traditional concept of masculinity outweighs the subversive, socio-sexual implications of his "androgyny."



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