The Role Of Women In Hemingway's Fiction As Seen In The Love Relationships

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Hemingway's fictional women remain misunderstood and misjudged by many critics. One reason is that the early classifications into which these women were placed have not been challenged successfully. Critical interpretations have been made within accepted frameworks, or one framework has been replaced by another of similar restrictiveness. The women must be examined outside the old frameworks and from a new coign of vantage.Since all the major women characters are portrayed in relationships with men, one approach is to observe them in their love relationships. In this study, the women are examined in each of five stages or types of love: exploratory, disillusioned, established, erotic, and renewal. The study reveals varied fictional women: many are sympathetic and fully developed; some are among the most sexually liberated women in all of literature.The females of exploratory stages of love are as eager for sexual encounters as are their male partners. However, most of them expect the sexual stage to evolve into a complete relationship. The women experience disillusionment when their expectations are not met. The happiest women in established relationships enjoy mutual respect, sexual compatibility, and a shared sense of humor with their mates. The women in the erotic stage of love live in a state of euphoria. The intensity of their love is heightened by their isolation from society and by the brevity of their affairs. And, finally, women in a relationship of renewal equate love with physical or psychological recuperation or creativity.Many of Hemingway's fictional women are plausible, sympathetic and individualized. At the very least, they defy the standard dichotomies and classifications and emerge as persons in their own right. After a review of the relevant criticism, the women are examined in conjunction with their male partners and within the context of the fictional work itself. Biographical material is not used.Although the study places the women within five stages of love relationships, the purpose is not to classify these relationships but to examine the women characters within these stages for the purpose of better understanding them and their creator, Ernest Hemingway.


Literature, American

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