Ernest Hemingway’s The Snows of Kilimanjaro

Harry is the protagonist and writer husband of Helen in Ernest Hemingway’s ‘The Snows of Kilimanjaro’.  Since the start of the story, it is clear that Harry has been extremely depressed and dejected for some time, even before the gangrene attacked his leg, as proven by how he intended not to apply iodine even while knowing that he should, and that rejecting it would be fatal for him; the same thing applies about drinking alcohol.  He does not see any reason for him to care about anything or anyone anymore, especially that the infection has worsened (the pain has gone), and he knows that, unless help would arrive, that same day would be his last day.  The loss of hope may all be the effect of his miserable and dark history—from his days in Paris to the Dada movement to marrying a woman he does not love.  He believes that all bad incidents are due to his procrastination and extreme passion for comfort and luxury, which appears to be his second characteristic.  Harry sees comfort to be the only ground during tension and grief, and now, with gangrenes, vultures, and leopards dangling around him, and with the truck that has broken down, comfort is a word that is ultimately concealed.

The vultures, at first, were flying in circles above Harry and Helen; now, they start to land on the ground beside Harry, which makes the tension more extreme.  Death seems to approach him all faster than ever.  Finally, it is obvious that Harry is so angry and disappointed of everything—the broken down truck, the planes that are nowhere, the gangrenes and the vultures, his own self, and then his wife who happens to do nothing.  He knows that he has wasted his life needlessly.  He has wasted his opportunity; now, death appears to be loitering around.  His plans of writing his book, using his skills and talent, and getting his life fixed up has truly ended, and with his body and skills dripping away, he is no more than a failed, botched artist.  The flashbacks come to him at a time when the days are about to end.  The ‘dark mountains’ are about to appear… and Harry is aware of it.