To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway

To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway

To Have and Have Not is a novel set in Key West, Havana, and the Gulf of Mexico by American writer Ernest Hemingway. It depicts the failed life of individualist Harry Morgan. The author combines harry Morgan’s personal experience with social life, which is a new attempt in the writing technique. This work is Hemingway’s most creative and experimental novel. The book is divided into three parts: Spring, Autumn, and Winter, which vividly depict the failed life of Harry Morgan as an individualist. In “Spring,” Morgan rents fishing boats and is forced to make a living transporting “live” goods (stowaways) for others. In order to protect himself, he did not hesitate to take the law into his own hands and was sued for human life. In Autumn, Morgan traded smuggled liquor. By Winter, Morgan is so desperate to make money that he even agrees to accept an offer to ship back a gang of Cuban terrorists who rob banks. Although he killed the terrorists on the yacht, he was also shot and killed.

This is one of Hemingway’s works that has aroused strong controversy among critics. Hemingway published his novel To Have and Have Not in 1937 which pointed out that the gap between the rich and the poor in The United States led some people to take risks. The novel has a tragic and strong ending. The death of Captain Harry Morgan makes one feel that he is just an ordinary man who earns a decent living in Hemingway’s hands. He had been in the warm Caribbean sun, hoping for an easy life for his family. In the first Spring, Captain Harry Morgan is clearly a man in his own right, even able to take care of Eddie like a brother. Eddie is in some ways a shadow of Harry Morgan. Harry sees his future in Eddie and reminds himself of the principles he should follow to survive. But that didn’t last long after Mr. Johnson defaulted. “I’ve got a family,” he said, and something had to be done to make the money back.

With Harry Morgan’s ruthless approach, his life cycle seems to start working as it did at the beginning of the book. In this 1937 novel, it is more or less felt that Hemingway’s Harry Morgan is still in the fog of individualism and that he still has a long way to go before he can reach new heights. It’s worth noting that In Hemingway’s eyes, Harry Morgan is not a hero at all, he’s just a tough guy.

-Coreen C.

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