The University of Tampa's Hemingway Study: Key West, Cuba and Ernest Hemingway


This website was originally created by three students at the University of Tampa: Evan Henderson, Nabhanya Morarji, and Tabitha LaFaurie, under the guidance of assistant professor of English, Dr. Sarah Juliet Lauro. The goal was to create annotations for people, objects, and places referenced in Ernest Hemingway's novel To Have and Have Not in order to assist new readers. Although Kirk Curnutt's Reading Hemingway's To Have and Have Not: Glossary and Commentary provided a solid foundation for our research, our team conducted place-based research in Key West to enrich, add, and compile more data. In addition, we utilized Penn State Hemingway Project and the Kennedy Library’s collection of Hemingway papers to explore the different facets of the book. The results are published on this website.

2021: A second generation of students has now taken the project even further. 















Hemingway House, Key West 2021:

Originally, our goal was to expand this project by including Cuba in our study, but the 2020 COVID outbreak made that impossible. Instead, we leaned into a focus on the natural world of Key West, to highlight aspects like plant and animal life, and the environment. To this end, we added several aspects to the annotations on To Have and Have Not. We also began work on annotations on another novel, The Old Man and the Sea, as well as some short stories. Our hope is that a future group of students might be able to travel to Cuba and complete this work. 






































STUDENT MISSION STATEMENT: With a passion for Hemingway and an interest in expanding the definition of American authorship, we came to Key West to develop upon the work that our UT peers had done before. Our mission is to find new relationships between the existing knowledge of Hemingway, and inform future scholars with a comprehensible outline of Hemingway’s legacy. We have all had extensive experience studying the works of Ernest Hemingway--Nina Darcy in a semester-long single author course, Chandler Culotta in a Maymester course and a year long independent study, and Lily Connolly in a year long study as well. Moreover, Ken Burns’s recent documentary on the American author (for PBS) has brought renewed attention to the man and his work. Now being based in Tampa, we felt this was a unique opportunity for us to gather images and videos from the various places in Key West that inform his novels To Have and To Have Not and later inspiration for The Old Man and The Sea. Lastly, we were excited by the idea of leaving an academic legacy for future UT scholars to continue building upon the foundations of our research. We hope our findings will serve the next generation of UT scholars with the tools to build upon our research from Key West and branch into Hemingway’s influence on Cuba. In order to fully understand the impact of the Nobel prize winning novella, The Old Man and the Sea, and the legacy that unites Hemingway fans and critics alike, one must first understand the history of Key West during the author’s time and cultural context. To supplement the fine work of our predecessors, we have narrowed our focus to the natural world of Key West. Our work dives even deeper into the intricacies and interconnectedness of the biocentric symbolism of E.H’s work by providing a digital resource for scholars and students all over the world- who are unable to witness the visual beauty of Key West that is paramount to unpacking the weight of Hemingway’s work. We hope that this website will enrich the experience of those reading Hemingway’s novels, especially To Have and To Have Not and The Old Man and The Sea-- by bringing the splendor of the location to life through these coordinated annotations and media projects.

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In addition to previous study of Hemingway's literary works, the 2021 group brought to the project special skills in photography, writing, and website design. 


Images above: UT students Nina Darcy, Lily Connolly and Chandler Culotta tour Key West sites of importance to Hemingway and his works, and work on the website.  

Portrait of Ernest Hemingway at the Hemingway House, Key West, Florida. Photo by Chandler Culotta, 2021. 

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One of Hemingway's typewriters, on display in the Key West Customs House museum. Photo by UT students, 2021.


Hemingway's uniform, on display at the Key West Customs House Museum. Photo by UT students, 2021.


Hemingway’s Writing Style:


Ernest Hemingway’s writing style is seen mostly as short, precise sentences, and this terseness brought about a new style of prose for the modern writer (Xie). His characters are noted for speaking more like real people than characters found in the works of other authors, because he does away with the use of elaborate adjectives and adverbs. He tends to primarily use one- or two-syllable words to keep his sentences flowing nice and simply; to make up for this, Hemingway’s characters are usually multilayered and complex. Hemingway’s style was most likely influenced by his work in journalism, where his articles would have been short and concise to keep readers entertained. Hemingway also carries this same discipline over into his fiction work. One of these colloquial techniques Hemingway uses is parataxis: the placing of clauses one after another (Random House Unabridged Dictionary.) Though it’s generally defined by short, quick clauses, such as “I came, I saw, I conquered.” One example of an asyndetic parataxis in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises is “the steer was down now, his neck stretched out, his head twisted, he lay the way he had fallen” (144).


In addition to this, the Iceberg theory, also called the theory of omission, is a minimalistic writing technique associated with Ernest Hemingway. This style involves keeping the deeper details of the story such as character background information beneath the surface of the page. Hemingway claimed that he came up with this idea after working as a journalist, specifically, writing newspaper articles about current events. The most classic example of this is the story “Hills Like White Elephants,” which centers around a couple discussing an abortion, but the word is never used.  

“The Spirit of Place,” is a term originally coined by D.H. Lawrence. Hemingway frequently uses colloquial diction, foreign words, and literal translations rather than their English equivalents to convey the flavor of unfamiliar language.

Hemingway’s use of free-indirect prose style:


The free-indirect style is the integration of first-person thoughts and speech into third-person narration. The term originated in the French language, where written quotation marks are less common than in English; Hemingway was familiarized with the idea during his time as a journalist. In The Old Man and the Sea, free-indirect style is used often as a vehicle for Santiago’s thoughts, to the point that entire paragraphs go by in this way without a single quotation mark. A perfect example of this can be found on page 46:


"Then he looked behind him and saw that no land was visible. That makes no difference, he thought. I can always come in from the glow of Havana. There are two more hours before the sun sets and maybe he will come up before that. If he doesn’t maybe he will come up with the moon. If he does not do that maybe he will come up with the sunrise." 


Free-indirect passages like these appear often in the book, about once every two pages. They increase in length and regularity as the story continues; the vast bulk of these are Santiago’s thoughts directed at the marlin. Commenting on its strength, planning his next moves to best it, or contemplating the nature of such a strong fish in such a vast ocean. 

Anthropomorphism in “Old Man and the Sea:”


Anthropomorphism, the act of attributing human characteristics to non-human entities, is a key element of Santiago’s way of thinking. We see this first on page 29: Santiago thinks of the sea as la mar, a feminine term, and refers to it exclusively as “her.” While other fishermen call the sea el mar, masculine like an enemy or contestant, Santiago sticks to the feminine. He even goes so far as to say of the sea that “...If she did wild or wicked things it was because she could not help them. The moon affects her as it does a woman.” He also anthropomorphizes his own cramped hand on page 59, speaking encouragement to it, and calls a Portugese man-of-war a “whore.” He speaks to a small bird, asking it how old it is. His way of relating to the world is to relate to and compromise for living things, even if they are not actually alive.


Santiago also anthropomorphizes the marlin throughout the story. He gives the pronoun “he” to it and exclusively refers to it this way; speaks to it several times; thinks to himself that he must convince the marlin to believe it is weak, as though it has any concept of weakness or strength. On page 53, when night has fallen over our protagonist, Santiago even addresses the marlin as an opponent, as though in a race: “I can do it as long as he can.” Later in the book, Santiago comes to repeatedly refer to the marlin as his “brother,” even accepting the potential of being killed by this beast which he loves (92, 105). His anthropomorphication of the marlin goes so far that Santiago comes to define the events of the book as a fight between equals. 

Guy Harvey illustration of The Old Man and the Sea, on display at the Customs House. Photo by Chandler Culotta, Key West, 2021. For more of this series of images see our tab introducing the novel.  


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A display of fish at the Dry Tortuga National Park Ferry.

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A boat in Key West Harbor

Fishing rods on display at Sloppy Joe's.

An important dimension of Hemingway's novels To Have and Have Not, and The Old Man and the Sea, is Hemingway's love of the sport of fishing. The first photo here was taken at Conch Harbor Marina in Old Key West, also known as Dry Tortugas National Park Ferry. There were many fish displays and many boats, including some signs signaling to more of the Tortugas. The second photo was taken at Sloppy Joe’s, a friend of Hemingway whose bar he went to daily. This bar is a staple place for all lovers of Hemingway as he was known to go there with his friends constantly. The gift shop contains Hemingway merchandise, there are Hemingway named drinks, and fish with fishing poles and boats all over the walls as decor.  Hemingway loved fishing and valued fishing as much more than a leisure activity. He was a huge fisherman for a few reasons: his competitive attitude, bonding time with his buddies, and used this time to read, relax, or get his mind off of things. Hemingway incorporated fishing in many of his novels including one of his most famous, The Old Man and the Sea. Many of his friends had boats and loved fishing as well. The days of fishing for Ernest were some of his best. While falling in love with Key West, one of the things he adored about it was the water scene. There are many marinas that are known for having Ernest and his friends fish and keep their boats there. Toward the beginning of his stay at Key West, McIver talks about his fascination and love for the place he had moved to, “The magic of Key West was beginning to seduce Ernest. Free of distractions, he could concentrate on A Farewell To Arms during the mornings, then relax in the afternoons or evenings with a rod and reel” (10). An important memory of fishing for Hemingway was, “Near the end of may, earnest finally boated the kind of fish he had envisioned for the Pilar (his boat), the biggest Atlantic Sailfish even taken on rod and reel. Unfortunately, it could not be claimed as an official worlds record, 9 ft long 120 pounds (32). Hemingway boasted about this to many of his friends who fished with him, including Charles Thompson. Additionally, Hemingway used the boat for catching up on some reading during the mornings. Although his boat, the Pilar, was always equipped with fishing tackle equipment. 


Both images, taken in the Custom House Museum, (filled with things to represent his life including a typewriter, boxing gloves, and more) specifically show Hemingway as a proud fisherman, and Hemingway as a fisherman with his close friends, catching some large fish as a competitive but relaxing hobby.

A bronze Hemingway sculpture.

A photo of Hemingway and friends fishing.

Key Terms for Fishing

Fishing was important to Hemingway, so in his novel To Have and Have Not, there are many fishing terminology regarding the boat. Most of the novel takes place revolving around a boat, or simply traveling across the water. In the novel, Harry Morgan is a charter boat captain, works in  a sector of Key West that was only about 30 years old but sporting didn’t take off until the 1910’s. Hemingway Learned the business through locals. His close friend and local Charles Thompson, owned the local marina and bait shop.

Some terms Hemingway used in To Have and Have Not:

  1. “Smack”- describes any cutter-styled fishing vessel. Fishing boats with large internal holding compartments built below deck to keep catches alive until they reach market.

  2. “House of Hardy” (p 12)  is the brand name of a British sporting good manufacturer founded in 1872. -“Angling tackle” was considered premium, a Hardy reel and rod shows Harry Morgan’s struggling as a charter boat captain. Affluent clientele would expect high end equipment.  

  3. “Still fishing”: allowing the bait to lie stationary in the water so the fish come to it

  4. A “Binnacle” case stands in front of a ships wheel to hold navigational instruments

  5. “Snapper line” is one of a number of short lines each carrying a baited book, attached at regular distances along the main line

  6. “Grains pole”: A long instrument with one of more barbed prongs for spearing or harpooning fish

  7. “Grease cups..stuffing boxes” chamber around propelled shaft where it exits a hull. The box prevents water from leaking back into a vessel.

  8. “Scupper drain”: built into the edge of a deck to remove standing rain or seawater

  9. “Barkentine rigged three-master”: Three mast sailing vessel

  10. “Yawl Rigged”: Ship has stalled aft mast and sail at the very back of the vessel

Hemingway mentions fishing in some technical terms throughout the novel,

“I looked back and his bait was trolling nice, just bouncing along on the swell, and the two teasers were diving and jumping. We were going just about the right speed and I headed her into the stream” (12).

Additionally, this annotation is specifically important because the water and boats comes up specifically when he is traveling to Key West. This acts as a liminal space when he is transporting immigrants, or illegal substances on the water.

Not only did Hemingway have his boat (see in the next annotation), but tis friend Sloppy Joe Russel had a boat he was very familiar with, “Anita."


A model of Hemingway's boat, the Pilar. 

Photo courtesy of Chandler Culotta '21

The Pilar: Hemingway’s boat was a crucial part of his life. His boat, the Pilar, was used to read, for leisure, fishing (competitively or just for fun) and last but not least, for parties. Many celebrations were thrown on Hemingway’s boat, whether he was just happy about a catch, or he was enjoying life. 

Ernest Hemingway's Favorite Bar in Key West, Sloppy Joe's


Above: Photo by Chandler Culotta, 2021.

Left: Historical photos of the original Sloppy Joe's from the Custom's House museum. 

Unfortunately, another major part of Hemingway's life was drinking. See our discussion of the role that alcoholism played in his depression in our highlight of that issue. Many tourists come to Key West and take refreshment at Sloppy Joe's bar, believing that Hemingway drank there, but the original site of Sloppy Joe's was actually where the bar Captain Tony's currently stands. 


Images from present day Captain Tony's, with displays of dollar bills and brassieres. Photos by UT students, 2021. 


Hemingway's hat (left) and a stool with his nickname painted on to it (above). In the bar, there are stools painted with the name of all the celebrities that have visited, including Truman Capote, John F. Kennedy, Harry Truman, and many more. Photos by Chandler Culotta, 2021.


Photo: Chandler Culotta, Hemingway House, Key West, 2021. 


Framed checks from Hemingway's paid writing jobs, on display at the Hemingway house, Key West. Photo by Chandler Culotta, 2021. 

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Ernest Hemingway's Boat, The Pilar 

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