Masters Thesis

Hemingway and the influence of religion and culture

Despite having been raised a Congregational Protestant, Ernest Hemingway abandoned the faith of his youth after he left home—especially, after he experienced destruction and death in the Italian theater during World War I. In the following years, Hemingway converted to Catholicism when he married his second wife, Pauline Pfeifer. Hemingway also had an anti-Semitic streak, often using racial slurs, and even making the villain in his first novel, The Sun Also Rises, to be a rich Jew. This thesis uses new historicism as the critical lens through which to view Hemingway’s attitude towards Judaism and Christianity. It includes an investigation of his biography and some of his novels. Though he practiced Catholicism, he sometimes had negative things to say about it. Yet, his later novels show an increased level of spirituality culminating in The Old Man and the Sea.