At the heart of Hemingway’s works is his desire to write one true sentence, an insatiable appetite that drove much of his greatness. It may come as no surprise then that many of his characters, too, are hungry. There is a void to be filled in them, and while it is not always the longing to write truthfully and beautifully, it always centers on some deep, universal human craving. Throughout his work, that hunger was associated with various cravings: the act of writing itself, responding to critics, and or the quest for love. Hunger, appetite and desire are present in every Hemingway work, and food itself features heavily and often metaphorically. For Hemingway, experience is irrevocably linked to consumption. In a letter to Martha Gelhorn he once wrote “Don’t know how it is with you but terrible hard for me [sic] to write immediately after war. As though all the taste buds were burned off” (Brennan 71). To experience war firsthand is to taste it, to swallow the war itself, and have its power completely destroy your abilities to perceive. Writing about it afterward is difficult because it takes time for the taste buds to grow back. For Hemingway, writing is reliving. This theme of restoration is commonly linked to appetite, as well. Hemingway’s heroes often feel empty or hollow after writing, and need sustenance of some variety in order to prepare for their next bout with the page. It is clear also that Hemingway was a trencherman of the highest order; his pages are littered with food descriptions that function both literally and metaphorically. It is not uncommon to leave a Hemingway reading with one’s mouth watering from these feasts. Whether they be simple or extravagant, the man had a knack for describing the layout of a table or the feel of a dish. This essay will examine how food and appetite function in three major Hemingway works: A Moveable Feast, Green Hills of Africa, and The Garden of Eden. The author’s attitudes towards sex, writing, love, rhetoric, determination, the literary scene and more are revealed in these explorations of the link between hunger and the human condition.

    Perhaps where Hemingway features hunger most prominently is in A Moveable Feast. Although not his choice, the title of this novel could not be more fitting. Food around every corner in this Paris, and cafes are places of creativity where poets and writers both congregate and work. In the very first chapter (I should note here that I reference the 2009 edition of the novel, as some of the chapter ordering differs), Hemingway walks to a cafe to write. He comments after finishing that “After writing a story I was always empty and both sad and happy, as though I had made love” (Hemingway, Feast 18). Hemingway frequently alludes to this emptiness. There is something about the writing process that is draining. As we saw in his letter to Martha, writing is reliving the experience completely, and it is therefore as exhausting as the events that inspire it. He then says, “I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away...and as I drank their cold liquid...I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans” (18). This is an excellent example of Hemingway’s description of food, and how eating does something to help him regain his resolve. There is more at work here than that, though. Later on, in the chapter “A False Spring,” Hemingway and Hadley stand on a bridge reminiscing. Hemingway asks her if she remembers a climb they took with a friend on a trip, sparking a conversation of memories. They head to dinner, and Hemingway asks her about the hunger he feels. She replies “There are so many sorts of hunger. In the spring there are more. But that’s gone now. Memory is hunger” (48).  Once again, reminiscing – a major part of writing for Hemingway – causes hunger. After they eat Hemingway muses, “When we had finished and there was no question of hunger any more the feeling that had been like hunger when we were on the bridge was still there when we caught the bus home. It was there when we came in the room and after had gone to bed and made love in the dark, it was there. When I woke with the windows open and the moonlight on the roofs of the tall houses, it was there” (49). The hunger is really more like the emptiness Hemingway feels after writing, a longing for both what has been and what will be. Reliving a memory is a creative act, and the act of living is therefore just like the act of writing. The only way to refill that reservoir is by having more experiences.

    Hemingway is only able to see that this hunger came from his writing as he looks back upon the Paris years, however. At the time, his appetite was focused on being the greatest author he could. This desire, too, is linked to hunger. The same restaurant he and Hadley eat at is “where Joyce ate with his family then, he and his wife against the wall, Nora by him, Giorgio thin, foppish, sleek-headed from the back” (48). Joyce might not have been in the restaurant on this particular occasion, but Hemingway’s description makes it seem like he was. It is not only important that Hemingway wants to eat at the same restaurant as the renowned Joyce. He continues, saying, “Standing there I wondered how much of what we had felt on the bridge was just hunger” (48). Hemingway wants that status. He wants to be the one drawing aspiring writers to a restaurant. This sentiment carries into the racing sections. He gets drawn into horse racing culture, and “it was hard work” (52), getting to know each horse, jockey, trainer, owner, the ins and outs of betting and the stadium itself. Finally he has to quit, presumably for money’s sake. He says, “When I stopped working on the races I was glad but it left an emptiness. By then I knew that everything good and bad left an emptiness when it stopped. But if it was bad, the emptiness filled up by itself. If it was good you could only fill it by finding something better” (52). The races themselves parallel the literary world. There is just as much cheating (as we will see later) and luck involved, and just as much money on the line. The “something better” Hemingway must find is his writing career.

    His newfound focus on creative writing causes Hemingway to worry. He says, “When I stopped doing newspaper work I was sure the stories were going to be published. But every one I sent out came back” (69). It is no coincidence that he writes about quitting the papers shortly after quitting the races. The amount of work he was putting into reporting, just like the amount of it he had been putting into betting on the races, was not worth the payoff. What he really wanted to do was write stories. He considers why people are not buying them, thinking, “Now I have them so they do not understand them...There is most certainly no demand for them. But they will understand the same way that they always do in painting” (71). This lack of demand leads to a real hunger, one that results from the simple inability to buy food. This passage continues with Hemingway saying, “Hunger is good discipline and you learn from it; but you can work something out. And as long as they do not understand it you are ahead of them...I’m so far ahead of them now that I can’t afford to eat regularly” (71). What, exactly, does Hemingway “learn” from hunger? His comparison between writing and looking at paintings points us in a new direction for the subject. The chapter (which happens to be titled “Hunger is Good Discipline”) opens with Hemingway lamenting that he was “writing nothing that anyone in America would buy,” and that “you got very hungry when you did not eat enough in Paris,” citing directly that it was because he had “given up journalism” (65). Instead of eating lunch, he goes to the Luxembourg museum and says that “all the paintings were heightened and clearer and more beautiful if you were belly-empty, hollow-hungry” (65). There is something about the weird, dream-like state of hunger that allows Hemingway to see more easily the deepest parts of things. He also wonders if Cezanne “were hungry too when he painted; but I thought it was possibly only that he had forgotten to eat” (65). This is an odd sentence. After all, isn’t one hungry when they forget to eat? There is a difference drawn between hunger from poverty and hunger from personal choice.

    Of course, at the time, Hemingway really did have enough money to feed himself and more, thanks to Hadley. If his hunger did lead to heightened clarity, it was only through his own pursuit of it, and not due to dire circumstances, just like Cezanne. Even his pondering of the painter’s hunger, though, is “one of those unsound but illuminating thoughts you have when you have been sleepless or hungry” (65). Hemingway makes this a false, or “unsound,” clarity. If he did starve himself to gain deeper understanding, as an old man he looks back and sees it as foolish. He ends the paragraph by saying “later I thought Cezanne was probably hungry in a different way” (65). The other main hunger we get in the novel is related to creation and memory. Hemingway recognizes that all great artists feel an emptiness found when they use up their experience in order to create.

    Whether or not Hemingway did go hungry during his Paris years, his repeated insistence that he lacked enough money to eat is the first hint at a larger view of what it means to be a successful artist. He repeats again later, in “With Pascin at the Dome,” that “it was necessary to give up going racing in the time of our real poverty...when you are...a natural heavyweight, missing a meal completely makes you very hungry. But it also sharpens all you perceptions” (82). He hammers home this point that he was both hungry and abnormally perceptive. These musings come while he is waiting to dine at a restaurant, where “the plat du jour was cassoulet.” Hemingway says that it “made [him] hungry to read the name” (82). This is not merely because he is a starving artist and cassoulet sounds delicious. The meal is a slow-cooked bean casserole, a deliberate choice on Hemingway’s part. He finds value in the process, whether it be letting oneself get hungry before a meal or the process of becoming a great writer. The wait is part of it. Perhaps that is why he is offended later at his meal with Ernest Walsh. The poet, when Hemingway first meets him, is being paid “twelve hundred dollars apiece” for each of his poems, as reported by one of his girls. The next time he hears about him, he is starting up a literary magazine as a co-editor. He hears a rumor that “This Quarter...was alleged to be going to award a very substantial sum to the contributor whose work should be judged the best at the end of the first four issues” (97). Hemingway plays up the suspicious nature of the award, saying “let us hope and believe always that it was completely honorable in every way” (97), of course telling us by that inclusion that it was anything but. Walsh takes Hemingway out to lunch, buying him a veritable feast:

  1. It was not long after I heard rumors of this alleged award that Walsh asked me to lunch and after the oysters, expensive flat faintly coppery marennes, not the familiar, deep, inexpensive portugaises, and a bottle of Pouilly-Fuisse, began to lead up to it delicately. He appeared to be conning me...and when he asked me if I would like another dozen of the flat oysters as he called them, I said I would like them very much...He wanted a good steak, rare, and I ordered two tournedos with sauce Bearnaise... ‘There’s no use beating around the bush,’ he said. ‘You know you’re to get the award, don’t you?’ (97-99).

Hemingway refuses, calling the deal unethical. Walsh is described as a glutton and a con-man, not a real poet. Stuffing oneself is linked here with a violation of artistic integrity. An artist cannot be handed awards by his acquaintances, nor should he even want them.

    Hemingway’s work ethic is repeated in the skiing sections. He describes the climb up the mountains as “steep and very tough. But the second time you made that climb it was easier, and finally you made it easily with double the weight” (116). It is readily apparent that his is a metaphor for writing. It is a great struggle, but with practice it becomes easier. Just like the cassoulet, the struggle, or process, is an important part of it. He follows up this description by saying “we were always hungry and every meal time was a great event” (116-117). Once again, his desire to reach the top of the mountain – the goal of writing the perfect story, becoming the greatest author – is an immense craving. And he wants to get there the hard way.

    While A Moveable Feast focuses its appetite on the desire for and process of creation, written looking back from the wise perch of old age; Green Hills of Africa uses food and consumption more as a criticism of overwrought rhetoric and the literary lifestyle, written from the perspective of an author near the height of his career, frustrated with critics and the scene he finds himself in. It does have a scene that is a kindred spirit to Walsh’s buttering up of Hemingway, in which Kandisky, the stranded motorist, comes to eat lunch with Hemingway’s camp. The have quite a feast, including “fresh butter much admired, Grant’s gazelle chops, mashed potatoes, green corn, and then mixed fruit for dessert” (Hemingway, Hills 28). Over the meal, Kandisky explains how “the East Indians were taking the country over,” saying “during the war they sent the Indian troops to fight here...They promised Aga Khan that because they fought in Africa, Indians could come freely to settle and for business afterwards” (28). It is clear that this is not the empirical truth. Pop, Hemingway’s wise old man character in this novel, “would not argue with a guest at table” and says nothing. Kandisky continues his know it all antics, demonstrating a dance of the natives. Hemingway’s description is humorous: “Crouched, elbows lifting and falling, knees humping, he shuffled around the table, singing. Undoubtedly it was very fine” (29). The sarcasm is hardly subtle. After Kandisky leaves, Pop says “I wouldn’t believe all that about the Aga Khan, you know,” and Hemingway replies “It sounded pretty good” (29). Sounding good and being true are not the same. In fact, the better it sounds, the more suspicious Hemingway finds it. Just like in A Moveable Feast, the large meal is linked to a sense of falsehood and negativity. The amount consumed is equal with the amount spoken. Kandisky stuffs himself with words, and is ridiculed for it.

    A similar connection is made later when P.O.M., Pop and Hemingway sit around at camp after Hemingway fails to kill a cow. They swap literary anecdotes. After several short, unexciting tales, Pop sarcastically says “By God. I tell you the literary life’s the thing” (142). Then he turns around and tells the longest story of all, despite having far fewer connections to the literary life than the other two. Hemingway says “why you’re a literary bastard...Look at that for an anecdote” (142).  Hemingway and P.O.M. show little interest in pursuing their stories past one-liners, and Pop winds up with the longest narration, showing how little the literary life means to Hemingway. All of a sudden, P.O.M. asks if they are ever going to eat, to which Pop replies “Thought by God we’d eaten...start these anecdotes. No end to ‘em” (143). In the previous passage, Kandisky’s nonsense is put side by side with an enormous meal. Here, Pop’s talk seems to take the place of one, as though they were able to fill themselves up on useless speech alone. Only P.O.M. is still hungry afterwards.

    P.O.M. cuts through the rhetoric in another scene earlier in the novel. The three are again sitting and talking, Hemingway and Pop getting increasingly drunk. She knows what is coming and says “I know the war can’t be far away. Were either of you gentlemen in the war by any chance?” (112). She has been here before and knows they are about to begin bragging. Pop obliges, saying “were we not...a couple of the bravest bastards that ever lived and your husband’s an extraordinary wing shot and an excellent tracker” (112). Hemingway, of course, never saw real action in the war, and throughout the novel exaggerates his hunting abilities. P.O.M. doesn’t let them get started in earnest though, as she soon says “Let’s eat..I’m frightfully hungry” (112). While the two men can sustain themselves on talking big alone, she sees through their nonsense and wants a real meal, something significant. So does the Hemingway who is writing the novel.

    Prior to his meal with Kandisky he provides us with what is essentially the key to his views on rhetoric. The two are discussing American authors, and Hemingway says:

  1. We have had writers of rhetoric who had the good fortune to find a little, in a chronicle of another man and from voyaging, of how things, actual things, can be, whales for instance, and this knowledge is wrapped in the rhetoric like plums in a pudding. Occasionally it is there, alone, unwrapped in pudding, and it is good. This is Melville. But the people who praise it, praise it for the rhetoric which is not important. They put a mystery in which is not there (21-22).

Thomas Strychacz writes in his article “Food and Rhetorical Performance in Hemingway’s Green Hills of Africa” that this passage “invites us to see ideas as eloquent moves in a rhetorical game. It is in this spirit that he uses tropes to buttress an attack on rhetoric” (Strychacz). He suggests that Hemingway is not entirely truthful in the attitudes he presents, even on rhetoric and other writers, especially considering “his statement that his lecture has been nothing more than ‘verbal dysentery’.” Citing Hemingway’s many inside-out images in the novel, like when he describes washing out a three-inch piece of his own intestine, Strychacz claims “’Pudding,’ in a book where body functions and parts keep turning inside out and where Hemingway engages in a kind of troping war with the likes of Kandisky and Africa, may not after all be distinguishable from the plums” (Strychacz). It is true that Hemingway presents a difficult view to pin down. P.O.M is able to see right through the rhetoric multiple times, though, and coupled with the author’s shifting attitudes towards himself (he eventually recognizes his bragging as unwarranted and piggish) there is evidence to the contrary. Hemingway always knows where his plums are.

    Strychacz does provide a compelling view when he states that “in Green Hills of Africa metaphors of food and corresponding processes of digestion and excretion articulate Hemingway’s fears about irresponsible and wasteful consumption” (Strychacz). Perhaps where these fears are most readily presented is in the infamous Gulf Stream passage: “the high-piled scow of garbage, bright-colored, white flecked, ill-smelling, now tilted on its side, spills off its load into the blue water...the sinkable part going down and the flotsam of palm fronds, corks, bottles, and used electric light globes, seasoned with an occasional condom or a deep floating corset” (Hemingway, Hills 108). On the one hand, his conclusion that these remnants “float with no significance against one single, lasting thing – the stream” (108) seems to suggest that the waste is not harmful. Surely Hemingway, of all people, with his experience at sea, knows that garbage has to go somewhere. His concern is spelled out further when he writes “the foreigner destroys, cuts down the trees, drains the water...The earth gets tired of being exploited. A country wears out quickly unless man puts back in it all his residue and that of all his beasts...after we are dead we may have ruined it but it will still be there” (200-201). The Earth will pass us by, then, just like the unstoppable stream, but that does not mean that we will not ruin it along the way. Strychacz links these views to rhetoric when he says that “it is after all man’s ‘residue,’ according to Hemingway... that allows a country to endure. This functional residue or waste...appears in Green Hills as rhetorical excess” (Strychacz). We see little of the garbage produced by Hemingway’s hunting and camping. The only real waste we receive, as readers, is the rhetorical kind.

    Hemingway complicates matters when, immediately after telling the reader that putting residues back into the land is the only way to save it, he comes across a tribe of Masai, saying “we gave a very successful party with refreshments...I had M’Cola open the two cans of mince meat and the plum pudding and I cut these into rations and passed them out...these Masai...are bread, cold mince meat and plum pudding with relish...after distributing the empty beer bottles...and finally the bottle caps...we left” (201-202). This passage stumps Strychacz, as he writes “surely the acts of eating recorded here have to do with the question of consuming Africa. But how they bear on consuming Africa has to do with the positions and perspectives we take... The Masai enjoy leaving us in complete irresolution for they relish ‘plum pudding’” (Strychacz). Keeping in mind that Hemingway’s metaphor makes truth the plums and rhetoric the pudding, how can we resolve the fact that the natives love “plum pudding”?  Hemingway has treated the natives throughout the novel as simple people. When Hemingway is alone with only natives, they “each...had [their] own meant or collection of pieces of meat on the sticks stuck around the fire...The liver was delicious” (171). Hemingway says “’Me plenty Simba...Hell of a man with Simba’...I could feel that I was getting the evening braggies” (172). He goes on to count off all his kills with M’Cola, and in fact the entire group relishes in eating and bragging. Food is once again connected with useless talk. The natives lap it up, so it should come as no surprise that they love “plum pudding,” both the rhetoric and the truth. Hemingway has found one use for rhetoric, then – pleasing the regular people of the world. The plums are reserved for art, and the pudding is spread around the Earth for those times around the fire, the times when it is not necessary to be profound. Those are the times in which bonds are regrown and friendships forged.

    One area where Hemingway repeatedly sees the need to be profound is in matters of love, and although most of his novels deal with the subject, perhaps none of them do more than The Garden of Eden. The novel opens in a French hotel where the newly wed David and Catherine are staying. The connection between hunger and love is made almost immediately, as “they were always hungry but they ate very well. They were hungry for breakfast...They were always so hungry for breakfast that the girl often had a headache...They had made love when they were half away...and then made love again. Then they were so hungry that they did not think they would live until breakfast” (Hemingway, Eden 4). Here, on the second page of the novel, hunger is mentioned four times. Even the characters notice how odd this is, as she asks “Is it normal do you think? Do you always get so hungry when you make love?” (5). The two are already making plans for lunch later over breakfast. They are looking forward to having sex again, yes, but the hunger goes deeper than that. Catherine says “I’m going to destroy you” (5). Love, and by extension lovemaking, leads to hunger. They are hungry for each other. But it is also related to destruction. They want to eat one another. Catherine particularly wants to consume David, to simultaneously destroy and envelop him, creating a new, unified version of them both. This theme of consumption continues when David catches a fish later in the chapter. Catherine asks what they are to do with the fish, and he replies “He’s too big to cook here and they say it would be wicked to cut him up. Maybe he’ll go right up to Paris. He’ll end in some big restaurant” (10). Catherine then says “I’m excited about the fish”, and the narrator explains that they “were hungry for lunch” (10). There has been no lovemaking here, but they are hungry regardless after the catch. Although they caught each other, so to speak, it is Catherine that winds up with David on a hook as she pressures him to do bad things in the night. Just as the fish will end up consumed, so she hopes that she can consume him, as right after their lunch (of fish, no less), she slips away upstairs to wait for him in bed.

    The bad things are yet to come at this point though, and Hemingway narrates that “there was only happiness and loving each other and then hunger and replenishing and starting over” (14). The theme found in A Moveable Feast of refilling is seen here again. They must replenish before they can continue. The hunger is on both sides of the relationship, as David does want Catherine completely and totally at this point. Only Catherine has the destructive tendencies. Her desire to become one with David begins right after this quote, as she shows up and “her hair was cropped as short as a boy’s” (14-15), and she reveals that she had the same coiffeur cut it who had previously cut David’s. They then eat a large meal: “steak...rare, with mashed potatoes and flageolets and a salad and the girl asked if they might drink Tavel. ‘It is a great wine for people that are in love,’ she said” (16). This meal is followed by the first “changing” in the bedroom, where David and Catherine experiment with gender roles, and Catherine’s ambitions become readily apparent. She is beginning to consume David.

    She is sidetracked by the arrival of a distraction in the form of Marita. Catherine is intrigued by the idea of having a girl around, someone with whom she can act the masculine part of the relationship without as much manipulation as she needs with David. There is an awkwardness surrounding the situation, which is understandably quite tense. After Catherine and Marita return from an afternoon and Catherine reveals they have kissed, David and Marita do as well. “Everybody is happy now,” says Catherine, “We’ve shared all the guilt” (111). They then “had a very good lunch and drank cold Tavel through the hors d’oeuvres, the poulet and the ratatouille, the salad and the fruit and cheese. They were all hungry and they made jokes and no one was solemn” (111). The beginning of the love triangle is accompanied by a huge meal and, yet, again, hunger. Catherine even says that “there’s a terrific surprise for dinner or before” (111). Once again, they are planning around a later meal even as they eat. The hunger in this case is Catherine’s for Marita though, not David, as she later on that evening goes to visit her in her room, leaving David behind in theirs.

    As David starts to fall for Marita too, the idea of consuming one’s partner returns. They are drinking together, and Marita leaves to check on Catherine. He “felt of the girl’s drink and decided to drink it before it got warm. He took it in his hand and raised it to his lips and he found as it touched his lips that it gave him pleasure because it was hers...That’s all you need to make things really perfect. Be in love with both of them” (127). He drinks it, and when she returns he tells her “I drank it...because it was yours” (127). As David gives into his feelings for Marita, he drinks her martini, reflecting his desire to consume her. Hemingway’s notion of love clearly involves some form of swallowing the partner into one’s self. Catherine, in the meantime, becomes jealous to the point that she wants nothing to do with either of them any longer. All three sit down to dinner one night and David says “please eat some of the’ve eaten hardly anything” (162). As she loses her desire for both Marita and David, she loses her appetite. She recognizes that they are more in love with each other than with her, and like any new lovers are enveloped in one another completely. She swings back and forth between trying to recapture her love and wallowing in despair. At one point she decides that the two women will “take turns” (170). She says “You’re mine today and tomorrow. And you’re Marita’s the next two days. My God, I’m hungry. This is the first time I’ve been hungry in a week” (170). This switching off situation rekindles her desire for David, and along with it her appetite. As soon as Marita and David get their first day alone though, she returns from a long drive by herself. “Where were you?” asks Marita. Catherine replies “Saint Raphael...I remember stopping there but I can’t remember about lunch. I never notice when I eat by myself” (189). She is in despair again, having lost David to Marita. Hemingway suggests that eating is related to togetherness. To be with someone is to eat of them and have them eat of you, so when Catherine eats by herself, she does not even recall it. Marita and David on the other hand, had “a wonderful lunch,” and they were together. This wholeness is echoed in a passage where David and Marita “held each other and he could feel himself start to be whole again. He had not known just how greatly he had been divided and separated because once he started to work he wrote from an inner core which could not be split nor even marked nor scratched” (183). He is made whole again after working by the presence of Marita, an idea which brings to mind the rejuvenation brought by eating after working in A Moveable Feast. There is a need to rejuvenate after work, and consuming, whether it be food or your loved one, is one way to do so.

    This brings us to the second love story present in the novel, the one between an author and his work. Romance creates an enormous appetite, while writing uses that energy up. Near the beginning of the novel, David “was hungry for breakfast but he pulled on a pair of shorts and sweater and found his notebook and pencils...He started to write and he forgot about Catherine” (43). Writing only can distract him from his insatiable appetite for his love, so much that he forgets about her completely – and breakfast, for that matter. After “he had worked for a time, he looked at Catherine sleeping, her lips smiling now...It’s too late for breakfast now, he thought. I’ll go down to the cafe and get a cafe crème and something” (42-43). It is only when he looks back at Catherine that he remembers to go and get food. She sparks the appetite in him and distracts him from his writing. Later on, David recognizes both of these women as a distraction. As he gives into his love of Marita and drinks her martini, he thinks “All right...remember to do the work. The work is what you have left. You better fork up with the work” (127). In a novel filled with food, “fork” is a conspicuous word choice. He needs to start working more often and more seriously, and sees that these two loves are pulling him away from it. Writing should be his nourishment, not love. After Catherine leaves at the end of the novel, he realizes that he does need a relationship replenish that reservoir of energy for writing. Marita, the hotel Madame, and David sit down to dinner, and Marita pleads with David to eat. “’All right,’ he said and drank some of the wine and ate some of the omelette slowly” (234). “It will be good for you,” Marita tells him. He goes on to eat “all of his chicken and the salad finally” (235). After the meal, her “bed had been made up for two” (235). As David eats, he overcomes the loss of Catherine and embraces his new, stable relationship. The next morning he gets up, reads Catherine’s farewell letter, and then “ate a second small, plump, miniature mackarel...then he went out to the kitchen for a piece of bread to sop up the liquid” (238). He then resolves to “write one new and good as [he] can” (238). Here eating symbolizes him becoming whole again, which he must do in order to write once more.

    So we see that Hemingway’s treatments of food are varied and expansive. Perhaps the one thread between all of them is that in order to be whole, one must consume. All forms of life have to eat in some way, whether it be absorbing sunlight in the case of plants or digesting matter for animals. The energy of life is what fuels us all, and Hemingway finds that energy most powerfully in relationships. He then uses it to fuel his writing. Memory and experience are what inspire him, and in order to continue his work he needs more and more of it. Green Hills seems, at first, to apply the least to this overarching theme, but the idea of putting residue back into the Earth fits perfectly. Hemingway puts back his energy in the form of writing. It is an endless circle of consumption and expulsion. Like the inside-out body parts, what goes out must go back in, from the entanglement of lovers to the simple eating of a meal.

Works Cited

Brennan, Carlene, and Hilary Hemingway. Hemingway’s Cats: An

        Illustrated Biography. Sarasota: Pineapple P, 2006.

Hemingway, Ernest. The Garden of Eden. New York: Scribner,


---. Green Hills of Africa. New York: Scribner, 1998.

--- and Séan A. Hemingway. A Moveable Feast: The Resored Edition.

        New York, NY: Scribner, 2010.

Strychacz, Thomas. “’Like Plums in a Pudding’: Food and

        Rhetorical Performance in Hemingway’s Green Hills of Africa.”

        The Hemingway Review. 2000.    


“Belly-empty, hollow-hungry”:

Hemingway’s Hunger and the Human Condition

Joe Kozlowicz