Ciro Discepolo | English corner | Ernest Hemingway


Ernest Hemingway
by Ciro Discepolo

“Man is not created for the defeat. Man can be killed, but never defeated”. These are the words of the old Santiago, the protagonist of the The Old Man and the Sea, words that better then many others express the world of fight, of competition, of the destiny ransom, of the jungle law in which he moved himself, operated and wrote the great Hemingway. And it will be exactly by The Old Man and the Sea that the American writer will earn, in 1954, the Nobel prize for literature.
The novel, simple and brief is very intense, with high dramatic tones, rich of the principal ingredients of Hemingwayan literature: strength, competition, fight, blood, violence and death. The old fisher, went fishing for the eighty-fourth time consecutively without catching only one sea vertebrate, he meets a very great fish, bigger than his own sail boat that, hooked on his bait, will fight three days before being killed by the man. He will never debase the animal’s dignity and he will continue to consider him always a noble creature, during all the fight: “I’d like to feed the fish. He is my brother. But I have to kill him and I need to remain strong to do it”. And when, almost exhausted, he doesn’t know if he will be able to save his own life in this adventure: “I never saw anything so great and wonderful and calm and noble as you, brother. Come and assassinate me. I don’t care who of us that will eliminate the other”. At the end will be the old man to win, but the “destiny”, like in the major part of his stories and novels, will be his enemy: the sharks will attack and devour carcass of his fish and he will return from this extraordinary adventure bringing with him only a skeleton. Life, for Ernest Hemingway, is a plaza de toros, an arena for gladiators where blood dust and death will mix themselves to the noon arrogance and where to man doesn’t remain that to combat. The image of this bullfight is all inscribed in the important Mars of the writer’s horoscope, in the first house and squared to Saturn.
Reading his books we cannot avoid to think, compare them, to Victor Hugo’s novels; for example The Laughing Man, an immense scenario of human miseries, of the titanic fight of people against a omnipotent destiny. That destiny that would bring the Fiesta author to suicide.
Hemingway all his life wrote about weapons, wounds and killings.
On July 2, 1961 he became protagonist of one of his stories and he shot a rifle bullet to his head. His was a great Cancer pessimism, the pessimism of a kind soul that recognizes of the law that governs the whole world: “Homo homini lupus (man that is wolf to man)”, man devours his similar, competition is not a sport but battle for survival. So the hyena of the story The Snows of Kilimanjaro that sniffing Harry hunter’s death protests, ominously, its prey. The Moon of the American novelist was in Capricorn and the combination Cancer-Capricorn is one of the most unhappy. The pessimism of Hemingway, however, has something more respect the others, contains very often death or, at least, violence and blood and this, as I wrote earlier, is certainly linked with his Mars in the first House. We remember that the same position was even in the natal charts of the Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Aldo Moro, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Grace Kelly and many other personages went down in history even for their violent death.
The natal chart of the subject was calculated for 1899, on July 21, at 8:00 A.M., in Oak Park (Chicago). Some biographical fonts indicate the year 1898 as the one of the birth, but the date here examined was confirmed by many Americans and Italo-Americans fonts (a special thank goes to USIS at the American Consulate of Naples). Even the Britannica Encyclopaedia reports 1899. Also, from the exam of the two different horoscopes, historically studied, appears with a lot of evidence that the Moon has to be about 10 degrees in Capricorn. This Moon is in the fifth House, opposed to Venus in Cancer and describes to us the falling in love and the frustrated loves, as the one of the protagonist of the autobiographical A Farewell to Arms for his Catherine; a love that knew the clandestineness emotions of the dark rooms of the American Military Hospital in Milan, to live, after, a beautiful Swiss winter and the inevitable frustration of the woman that gave a dead son to her Henry.
Hemingway got married four times and for at least three he was unhappy. A Moon in the fifth House, in Capricorn and in opposition to Venus, corresponds to a “saturnized” Moon, penalized by destiny. And what is sadder for a Cancer out of realty that the sentimental life goes wrong?
The Sun in Cancer and Venus in Cancer are the factory label of an extraordinary sensibility, of a restless soul, enormously in need of affection.
The author of For Whom the Bell Tolls would have liked to live in a world of pacific vegetarians, with a great blind fold on his eyes so not to see the world horror. And, instead, in his life, he was many times in Africa in contact with beasts and with men more sanguinary of the beasts and he was at the bull fights in Spain and everywhere there was war and death, battle and blood, pain and horror. Even his story The Short Happy Life Of Francis Macomber has an African scenario of the wounded and ferocious lions, of the unjust and fearful hunters, of the adultery consumed in according to the jungle laws, of the apparently accidental homicide and instead subordinated to a miserable objective. This same world of unjustness and evilness, of battles and defeats, that has, like common denominator the “cruel destiny”, we re-find substantially in all his literature production, from The First Forty-Nine Stories to Death in the Afternoon in 1932. It is the very clear thematic that was developed in the short story The Capital of the World in which the boy Paco was knifed to death simulating a bull fight. Then, for Hemingway life is certainly a bull fight and, in the opposite way of the great Eduardo De Filippo (great Italian dramatist) the subject thought that the “long dark night” would have never passed and that the only pitiful veil of death would have covered that big square of pain that is life. The psychiatrics, today, would be able to combat the depression of the novelist. With a few grams of Benzedrine or something similar would have been able to show the world to him in a less dark way, but if this would have deprived us from his masterpieces, let’s say: “Viva depression!”. This same depression, however, has even killed him and the transits of that event testimony it. Pluto was in conjunction with the Ascendant and so even Mars (2° in Virgo); Jupiter gave an opposition to the Sun and Saturn was sesquisquare to the Ascendant and in opposition to the Sun; Uranus, at 23° in Leo, was on the natal Mercury, in sesquisquare to the Moon.
Another time the aspect of 135° comes out, with arrogance: this aspect is erroneously ignored by many colleagues and, instead, I think that it is very important, at the same measure of the semisquare. The German school of astrology, but even the American one, it is useful to remember that, utilize a lot these aspects, while they give very little importance to the sextile and no importance to the semisextile. My personal practice pushes me in perfect accord to this vision. Coming back to our author it is necessary to remember two “significant circumstances” that accompanied the redaction and the published of A Farewell to Arms. While Hemingway was writing this book his father killed himself (Saturn in the fourth House in opposition to Pluto and square to Mars) and when the novel was born, on the same day, there was the great crush at the American stock. Even here I like to remember, launching a point of ideal identity, the words of Eduardo De Filippo: “War is not over, nothing has finished”. The thematic of A Farewell to Arms is particularly significative and expressive of the Hemingwayan thought: love that faces itself to the war absurdities, of destructions, of death. And after the escape of the two protagonists in Switzerland, a country considered like an island, an oasis of safety. The one of the island is a dear argument for Cancer, as in the case of the director Ingmar Bergman and his extremely northern island or Piero Chiara (an Italian novelist) in his novel The Bishop’s Room (the lake is like an upside down island in which waters the protagonist of the romance hides himself to escape the traps of the world represented by the coasts of the still land).
But, now, let’s speak about the Hemingway writer. Note, first of all, the presence of Jupiter in the third House that although being in Scorpio and square to the Sun has so strongly incised in his production and in his literature success. Many people, reading him, have the impression to discover a rough and not cultured prose, inspired, certainly by the Virgo-Capricorn values, values of “frugality”, of essentiality. But Agostino Lombardi (an Italian critic) so writes: “A prose controlled and conscious, cultured and even precious”. Ernest Hemingway, however, doesn’t let people love him for the form, but, instead, for the substance of his novels, because being a Cancer he touches to the bottom of the lector’s heart, he involves them, he makes them participants of the human dramas of his personages, not permitting the abstraction and dominates the emotion. He was not the greatest writer of all times, but a fantastic protagonist of our world, “a ferocious and violent world, without faith and without love, where man tries to grab on some fixed point passionately and vainly searched”.

Translated by Ciro Discepolo and Anna Mellone