The World Breaks Every One… Many are Strong at the Broken Places

alex atkins bookshelf quotationsThe world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places.

The quotation is taken from this passage from A Farewell to Arms (1929) by American novelist and journalist Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961): “If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.”

The world eventually broke Hemingway. At the age of 61, he died of a self-inflicted wound to the head using a double-barreled shotgun. Sadly, there were several suicides in the Hemingway family, which the press dubbed the “Hemingway Suicide Curse.” Hemingway’s father, Dr. Clarence Hemingway shot himself in the head with a .32 Smith and Wesson revolver back in 1928. Ernest’s brother, Leicester Hemingway, also a writer, committed suicide in 1982 with a gunshot to the head. Ursula Hemingway, Ernest’s sister, died of a drug overdose in 1966. Ernest’s granddaughter, Margaux Hemingway, a model, died of overdose in 1996. The Ernest Hemingway Memorial, located in Sun Valley, Idaho, displays a eulogy to the famous author, one that he himself had written for a friend a few decades earlier, written in his distinctive, simple style: “Best of all he loved the fall / the leaves yellow on cottonwoods / leaves floating on trout streams / and above the hills / the high blue windless skies / …Now he will be a part of them forever.”

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