Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Clark Davis, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Brian Kiteley

Third Advisor

Joyce Goodfriend


Aesthetics, Big Two-Hearted River, Bullshit, Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber


This paper uses Harry Frankfurt's definition of bullshit as a lens to re-examine Ernest Hemingway's aesthetic of factual details and omission. Frankfurt argues that bullshit consists of speech made with indifference to its veracity, and one who makes a habit of bullshitting may lose touch with reality. By studying three works across the author's career, "Big Two-Hearted River," "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber," and The Old Man and the Sea, one sees that Hemingway's prose style evolves and eventually contradicts his artistic statements. Given the fact that he promotes his aesthetic while discarding it, his theory becomes bullshit. Because normative critical interpretation of the author rests largely on his aesthetic theory, it too is inaccurate. Though Hemingway misrepresents how he writes, the success of his work regardless of aesthetics demonstrates that his writing is more complex than many think and deserves a more thorough re-evaluation.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Nathan Eiers


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

71 p.


Modern literature, American literature, British and Irish literature