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  • Archetypal Figures in "The Snows of Kilimanjaro." by David L. Anderson
  • Michael Patrick Hart
Archetypal Figures in "The Snows of Kilimanjaro". By David L. Anderson. Kent State UP, 2019. 240 pp. $39.95.

In his introduction to Archetypal Figures in "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," David L. Anderson explains that his archetypal approach to one of Hemingway's most well-known short stories grounds itself in the psychoanalytic work of Carl Jung and the collective unconscious as opposed to the perhaps more pervasive influence of Northrop Frye. While Anderson's loyalty to Jung remains clear in his outlining of an unconscious collectivity, he likewise produces his own Frye-esque schemas that anatomize his two archetypal figures: the "man on the trail" (or, more colloquially for the US, the "man on the run") and his necessary complement, the hospitable and abetting host. Throughout his work, Anderson extensively (if exhaustively) explains the constituent components of this particular archetype and offers a wide array of examples ranging from Greek classics to American popular music. Ultimately, he thoroughly explains the layers of the "man on the run" archetype in "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" as a way to argue for a more positive reading of Harry, its main character, at the end of the story.

For Anderson, the "man on the trail" archetype consists of several specific components. First, there is a man or woman on the run from some sort of authoritative power, whether that power be social, legal, or divine. Second, there is a host or hostess that is immediately accepting of the fugitive, and extends certain elements of hospitality, which can range from clothes to food to alcohol to shelter. There is usually, but not always, a parting gift of some [End Page 151] significance. Likewise, the host/hostess often aids the person on the trail by delaying the last constituent component: the pursuer. This triad—man on the trail, host, and pursuer—are the foundation of Anderson's archetype, and the elements of hospitality associated with the host are the recurring motifs. At the end of most chapters, Anderson offers a comparison chart of this archetype for the narratives that he has discussed. These charts are clear, well-organized, and cogent; they offer a useful organizational visual and help the reader see the connections Anderson is drawing between various stories in outlining the genealogy of the "man on the trail" archetype.

While Anderson's charts offer an apt summary of his findings, the overall organization of the book is rather peculiar. Anderson's first chapter traces the "man on the trail" archetype in the Deserter scene from "Snows" as well as in famous literary works that Hemingway most likely had read: Jack London's "To the Man on Trail," Joseph Conrad's "The Secret Sharer," Victor Hugo's Les Misérables, and Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. In the next chapter, Anderson draws on several stories made available to a young Hemingway through his parents' library at their Windermere cottage in Petoskey, Michigan. Specifically, Anderson elaborates the "man on the trail" archetype in Thomas Hardy's "The Three Strangers," Robert Louis Stevenson's "A Lodging for the Night," Harold Frederic's "Brother Sebastian's Friendship" and F.W. Robinson's "Minions of the Moon." After discussing these potential "man on the trail" influences on Hemingway, Anderson spends the next chapter elaborating the archetypal triad—fugitive, host, pursuer—I've described above. He then fleshes out a longer lineage of the archetype. The fourth chapter charts "man on the trail" narratives in Homer, and the fifth in divine narratives, including the Bible and Ovid's Metamorphosis. The sixth chapter veers somewhat off course, detailing the different instances of hospitality betrayed as well as repaid in the works of French writer Prosper Mérimée, whom Hemingway may or may not have read. As Anderson notes, Mérimée isn't included in either the Reynolds or the Brasch and Sigman catalogues; however, Hemingway mentions the French writer twice in his letters, once to Max Perkins and once to Owen Wister.1 The seventh chapter locates various "man on the trail" plots in famous poems and popular songs, but...