Gift and Curse of Freedom: A Study of the Snows of Kilimanjaro From Sartre’s Philosophy of Existentialism



This article has a study of the Snow of Kilimanjaro, one of Ernest Hemingway’s most successful short stories. It explores this short story from Sartre’s philosophy of Existentialism, mainly from Jean–Paul Sartre’s view about freedom and responsibility. The hero Harry’s most important turning points and the final struggle and reflection at the end of his life serve a best example to illustrate Sartre’s idea of gift and curse of freedom. Because freedom is a double-edged sword, everyone should take responsibility for himself or herself, therefore, freedom is indispensably linked with responsibility. To ponder about why freedom can be both gift and curse, this article gives an explanation from how the tremendous changes of social structure in World War I and after it had a profound influence on people’s psych, which led them have different views of freedom. The post-traumatic feeling of nothingness and nonsense from the changes of social structure pervades the story, and it is the source of people’s anguish, the curse of freedom.


Existentialism; Sartre; Freedom; Gift; Curse

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