This thesis examines the conception and destruction of masculine identities in Ernest Hemingway’s fictive works as resultant of a male dependence on societal acceptance. Utilizing both protagonists that fully align with a machismo persona and protagonists that seem disparate from Hemingway’s oeuvre of hyper masculinity, this thesis examines the uniform concerns of Hemingway’s men—their perception in society, threats to their masculinity, and their code of ethics. Through a three-pronged approach, this thesis looks at the male place in society, concerns about masculine identities, and responses to threats against masculinity. First, the recurrent figures of the father, the hunter, the son, the provider, and the husband are explicated for their consistent engagement with a larger community of men, the existence of repeating ethical codes amongst these characters, and their fate as it relates to their male ethics. Next, the harm often caused to Hemingway’s protagonists by female characters is explained to be acts that destroy male societal position and male authority. Finally, this paper examines the importance of a male iii social identity to Hemingway’s protagonists by showing they are willing to face death or philosophical crisis to reestablish their masculine identities.

Date of publication

Spring 5-4-2021

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

Dr. Ann Beebe, Dr. Anett Jessop, Dr. Hui Wu


English Master of Arts