Catharsis through writing: a sympathetic re-examination of Ernest Hemingway's Across the river and into the trees

Across the River and into the Trees was Ernest Hemingway's least popular and most unrecognized novel. While it has been discounted for years as an example of the ''writer in decline" due to its poor artistic quality and heavy autobiographical connections, I argue that it is the autobiographical roots of the novel that make it worth further literary and historical consideration. Ernest Hemingway never claimed that the book was written as an autobiography, however after close examination of the protagonist and the context alongside his own personal life events in his later years, it is clear that the Colonel in Across the River is a nearly exact copy of the author himself. Hemingway's motivations for writing his autobiography will become clear after analyzing the years and events in his personal life that led up to its creation. He was highly motivated by trauma and health issues that prompted a retrospection of his life and a need to document his memories, specifically of war. The writing of Across the River and into the Trees took on a cathartic purpose for Hemingway and can be seen in hindsight as an honest look at Hemingway's raw emotions and opinions not only about himself, but of the world around him, giving readers knowledge and understanding of him that is not revealed in pervious works. Keywords: Ernest Hemingway, Across the River and into the Trees, catharsis, autobiography, trauma, war, aging, masculinity, health, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, World War I, World War II, veteran, late-life identity