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Born on July 21 1899 in suburban Oak Park IL to Dr Clarence and Grace Hemingway Ernest was the second of six children to be raise in the quiet suburban town by his physician father and devout musical mother Indeed Hemingways childhood pursuits fostered the interests which would blossom into literary material Although Grace hoped her son would be influenced by her musical interests young Hemingway preferred accompanying his father on hunting and fishing trips this love of outdoor adventure would later be reflected in many of Hemingways stories particularly those featuring protagonist Nick Adams Hemingways aptitude for physical challenge remained with him through high school where he both played football and boxed Because of permanent eye damage contracted from numerous boxing matches Hemingway was repeatedly rejected from service in World War I Boxing provided more material for Hemingways stories as well as a habit of likening his literary feats to boxing victories Hemingway also edited his high school newspaper and reported for the Kansas City Star after adding a year to his age after graduating from high school in 1917 After this short stint Hemingway finally was able to participate in World War One as an ambulance driver for the American Red Cross He was wounded on July 8 1918 on the Italian front near Fossalta di Piave during his convalescence in Milan he had an affair with nurse Agnes von Kurowsky Hemingway was given two decorations by the Italian government and joined the Italian infantry Fighting on the Italian front inspired the plot of A Farewell to Arms in 1929 Indeed war itself is a major theme in Hemingways works Hemingway would witness first hand the cruelty and stoicism required of soldiers he portrayed in his writing when covering the Greco-Turkish War in 1920 for the Toronto Star In 1937 he was a war correspondent in Spain the events of the Spanish Civil War inspired For Whom the Bell Tolls Upon returning briefly
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