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A Natural History of the Dead

As one begins to dissect Ernest Hemingway’s short story “A Natural History of the Dead,” a great deal of meaning can be found through the situations he conveys. Through his commentary and the experiences of Mungo Park, much can be learned about Hemingway’s views and ideas. Upon quick read, one might think this is a simple-minded story about death and its place in history. However, it actually has a much deeper idea hidden in it. Hemingway is revealing to the reader how trivial death actually is. In fact, “A Natural History of the Dead” is completely irrelevant except to provide the reader with examples of how death is only a small part in the tremendously large scope of nature and the rest of the world. In his short story, Hemingway provides examples as to why death is just one facet in the big picture of life. Early in his story, Hemingway jump-starts the theme that is to be stressed through the rest of the short story by depicting many smaller experiences and cases. One such story is his description of dead bodies on the battlefield. He explains that one of the most surprising things seen on a battlefield is the paperwork scattered among the bodies. One does not remember the smell of the battlefield as much as the incredible amount of paper strewn about. By way of this example, Hemingway shows that even though a person might die, the rest of life, and everything that person has touched, goes on. After reading this particular part of the story, a real life example immediately came to mind. Throughout the September 11th disaster, it was common knowledge that many of the bodies of the deceased were never found, and most likely never will be. Yet, hundreds of thousands of documents proving these people had lived remain. Financial statements, tax returns, employment records, and so on were everywhere to be found, but the body of the person often was not. Once again, it shows that death pales in comparison to the big picture t...

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A Natural History of the Dead. (1969, December 31). In DirectEssays.com. Retrieved 22:31, November 28, 2014, from http://www.megaessays.com/viewpaper/100587.html