Ernest Hemingway Foundation
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Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park

Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway & Oak Park, IL

The Importance of the Chicago suburb to the Author's Development

The roots of Ernest Hemingway's life and art can be found in Oak Park. His first twenty years in this area between Chicago and the prairies and woods to the west, prepared him for his life as a writer.

His father taught him in the woods nearby how to live the outdoor life and to observe nature closely. His mother took him to opera houses and museums in Chicago so he could appreciate the inner life the arts awakened. His family initiated him in the spiritual life of their church, where he sang in the choir and reflected on the sermons.

It was in Oak Park that he received his only formal education. In school Ernest keenly observed what was around him and within him to make stories real for his readers. He wrote most convincingly about people, places and event he witnessed firsthand. When Ernest Left Oak Park he would continue to write out of his own direct experiences on four continents, seeking to convey to readers "how it was." His writing touched what was common in all people's lives.

In 1954 he was recognized with the Nobel Prize for his "powerful, style-making mastery of the art of modern narration." Decades after Hemingway's death in 1961, people around the world recall his adventures and new generations of readers find fresh meaning in his stories.