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Advice To A Son

Rating: 3.2

Never trust a white man,
Never kill a Jew,
Never sign a contract,
Never rent a pew.
Don't enlist in armies;
Nor marry many wives;
Never write for magazines;
Never scratch your hives.
Always put paper on the seat,
Don't believe in wars,

Keep yourself both clean and neat,
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Susan Williams 28 February 2016

Some say Hemingway wrote this to his son in an attempt to give him some insight and truth about the harsh realities of life. Maybe so. But I have read that his Mother was a controlling, stiff-necked, stuffy woman who tried to direct her son's choices even after he was a journalist over in Spain. I read this and see some good advice followed promptly by an embarrassing Motherly advice to use paper on the toilet so you don't pick up bugs and germs... I just can't picture Hemingway saying this to his son in between shooting charging elephants and lions....I can picture him advising his son to Never write for magazines based on his personal career experiences- - but Never scratch your hives? again that is what a Mother says often over and over again.... Looking at the entirety of this poem, I'd say some of the advice was Fatherly but I think he had a lot of bitterness towards the peck-peck-pecking advice of his Mother that underscored this piece.

26 2 Reply
Kim Barney 18 April 2016

Susan, I think you have analyzed this perfectly.

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so lead a clean and wholesome life And join them in the sky.... Beautiful poem from the great novelist and poet.

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Colleen Courtney 01 May 2014

I love this poem by Hemingway. A long way of saying goodness triumphs!

10 2 Reply
M Asim Nehal 28 February 2016

Nice advice.........................

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diarra 19 November 2020

I Never trust a white man because they are not so beautiful in they mind but they dont never believe in dieing one day

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Michael Walker 06 July 2020

He gives much sound advice to the son, nearly all of it in negative commandments 'do not'. Yet Ernest Hemingway shot himself-suicide-over stress regarding manuscripts and editors.

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Adeeb Alfateh 29 July 2019

Never marry whores. Never pay a blackmailer, Never go to law, good advice dude 10++++++++++++++++

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Ratnakar Mandlik 18 April 2016

Never trust a publisher, Or you will sleep on straw This advice must be for poets etc. Lead a clean and wholesome life And join your friends in the sky Nice advice to humanity in general.

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Fog Runner 18 April 2016

Never trust a publisher, Or you'll sleep on straw... HAHA

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