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July 21

Novelist Ernest Hemingway was born on this day in 1899.

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Novelist Ernest Hemingway was born on this day in 1899.

Grades 9 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Author & Text





At 17, Ernest Hemingway began his literary career as a newspaper writer. In 1926, his first major work, The Sun Also Rises, was published. This novel, as well as A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls, were based on his experiences in World War I and the Spanish Civil War. Considered to be one of his best works, The Old Man and the Sea was published in 1952, two years before he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.




Have your students examine the ways different authors treat the subject of war in their writing.

  • Have your students read For Whom the Bell Tolls or A Farewell to Arms, as well as a war novel by another author. Some choices include Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage, Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front, or Walter Dean Myers' Fallen Angels.
  • Then ask individual or small groups of students to compare and contrast the way the two authors have depicted war in their novels, using the Interactive Venn Diagram. Students should examine ways the authors use figurative language, characterization, point of view, and other plot elements to tell the story.
  • Finally, have students share their Venn diagrams as a whole group.

You may wish to use this activity as a term project and have students use their research to write comparative essays on the two chosen novels. Have them use the Compare & Contrast Map to plan their work.



  • Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventure

    PBS offers this collection of Hemingway resources. There are virtual tours, images, and information about key locations in his life, including Spain, Africa, Key West, Cuba, and more.

  • The Nobel Prize in Literature 1954

    This page features information about Hemingway's Nobel Prize. Included are links to a biography, his presentation speech with an audio clip, a critical article, and other information.

  • The Hemingway Society

    The website of the Ernest Hemingway Foundation includes a variety of resources on the author.

  • Picturing Hemingway: A Writer in His Time

    The National Portrait Gallery offers this exhibition of images and information from Hemingway's life. The site includes sections on Hemingway's beginnings in Paris, as well as the middle and final years of his literary career.


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Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Style: Translating Stylistic Choices from Hawthorne to Hemingway and Back Again

After exploring the styles of two authors, students translate passages from one author into the style of another. They then translate fables into the style of one of the authors.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Audio Listening Practices: Exploring Personal Experiences with Audio Texts

Students keep a daily diary that records how and when they listen to audio texts, then analyze the details and compare their results to published reports on American radio listeners.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

When Less IS More—Understanding Minimalist Fiction

This lesson pairs Ernest Hemingway's short story "Cat in the Rain' with Raymond Carver's "Little Things" to guide students to an understanding of the characteristics of minimalist fiction.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Outside In: Finding A Character's Heart Through Art

This activity, inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper and the stories of Raymond Carver, challenges students to get inside contemporary life and characters through the creation of monologues.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Unit

Love of War in Tim O'Brien's "How to Tell a True War Story"

Students explore the theme of love of war through texts on camaraderie among soldiers. They then compose a visual collage depicting their beliefs about the relationship between love and war.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

In the Style of Ernie Pyle: Reporting on World War II

Students will think this lesson should make the headlines when they finish researching Ernie Pyle's work in preparation for writing their own news articles.