The  Shotgun

July had just begun and it was only nineteen days short of his sixty-second birthday . Although the sun had just risen, , that Sunday was going to be sultry. But he didn’t care: he would no longer have to endure the summer heat … which was the least of all possible evils. He felt watched, controlled, maybe even followed by Hoover’s special agents, but no one seemed to believe him when he said he was surrounded by enemies.
Even the night before, when they had dined at the restaurant, at his favourite corner booth, table five, there were two FBI agents observing him from a table a little farther on.
Back home, he had heard Mary sing from her room: it was an Italian song that brought back so many memories. Then, before she closed her door, he whispered “Good night my kitten”-
He had got up early and had put on his robe over his blue pyjamas, and on his feet the moccasins he used as slippers. He had to search for the keys. He found them easily because Mary had left them on the window sill above the kitchen sink. He took them and went down to the basement storeroom where his guns were kept. He unlocked the door, entered, chose his favorite shotgun, the weapon he had used so often it might have been a friend. It was a double-barrelled shotgun with which he liked to shoot pigeons, purchased from Abercrombie & Fitch.
He pocketed a couple of shells and climbed back up the stairs. He walked across the living room , and stopped in the front oak-panelled entrance foyer.

He had always known how it would end: since his father committed suicide in 1928 he had thought that he too would probably go the same way.
He slid a shell into each barrel, snapped the gun shut, secured it against the floor, leaned over it and put the double barrel in his mouth. The taste of the metal wasn’t all that disgusting… he pulled the trigger and fired.
It was 7.30 am
.

︻╦╤─

American novelist, short story writer, and journalist Ernest Hemingway died on 2 July 1961

For the past few months he had constantly been worried about money and his safety, had spent his time fighting depression and paranoia, seeing enemies at every turn and thinking that the FBI was actively monitoring his movements. He had also threatened suicide and , anxiety-ridden and depressed, had been hospitalized twice where he had received electroshock treatments.
Two days after his return home, at the end of June 1961, he decided it was time to end it all.

Final note

It was later found out that Hemingway had really been hounded by J Edgar Hoover’s FBI agents since the 1940s. suspicious of his links with Cuba or even a decade earlier, because of his support for the Republican (socialist) government in Spain during the Spanish Civil War. J. Edgar Hoover had denounced him as a “premature anti-fascist”
Though his friends dismissed all his fears. Hem was keenly aware of that as later discovered that Hemingway had indeed been persecuted by J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI agents since the 1940s, suspicious of his ties to Cuba or even from a decade earlier, for the support given to the republican (socialist) government in Spain during the Spanish Civil War. Hoover had flagged him as a “premature anti-fascist”.
Though his friends rejected all fears of him, Hem was keenly aware of that constant, suffocating surveillance and, in response he drank heavily, became more and more morose and paranoid. The Bureau’s zeal and efforts to obtain any sort of damaging information on him contributed greatly to his suicide.

Era appena iniziato luglio e mancavano solo diciannove giorni al suo sessantaduesimo compleanno. Sebbene il sole fosse appena sorto, quella domenica si preannunciava afosa. A lui però non importava: non avrebbe più dovuto sopportare a lungo la calura estiva… che poi era il minore dei mali. Si sentiva osservato, controllato, pedinato, probabilmente erano agenti dell’FBI, ma nessuno sembrava prestargli fede quando diceva di essere accerchiato da nemici.
Anche la sera prima, quando avevano cenato al ristorante, seduti al suo tavolino d’angolo preferito, il tavolo cinque, gli sembrava che due agenti lo stessero sorvegliando da un tavolo poco più in là.
Tornati a casa, aveva sentito Mary canticchiare dalla sua camera: era una canzone italiana che gli riportava alla memoria tanti ricordi. Poi, prima che lei chiudesse la porta, le aveva sussurrato “ Buona notte, gattina mia”

Si era alzato presto e aveva indossato la vestaglia sopra al pigiama blu, e ai piedi i mocassini che usava come pantofole. Doveva mettersi alla ricerca delle chiavi. Le trovò facilmente perché Mary le aveva lasciate sul davanzale della finestra sopra il lavello della cucina. Le prese e scese nel ripostiglio sotterraneo dove erano conservate le sue armi. Aprì la porta, entrò , scelse il suo fucile da caccia preferito, quell’arma che aveva usato così spesso da essere quasi considerata un amico. Era un fucile a canna doppia con cui gli piaceva sparare ai piccioni, acquistato da Abercrombie & Fitch.
Si mise in tasca un paio di proiettili e risalì al piano di sopra. Attraversò il soggiorno fino nell’atrio d’ingresso rivestito di quercia.
Sapeva già da tempo come sarebbe andata a finire, da quando suo padre si era suicidato nel 1928 e lui aveva pensato che probabilmente anche lui se ne sarebbe andato allo stesso modo.

Fece scivolare un proiettile in ogni canna, assicurò il calcio contro il pavimento, si chinò sul fucile e mise la canna in bocca. Il sapore del metallo non era poi così disgustoso… premette il grilletto e fece fuoco.
Erano le 7,30.

︻╦╤─

Lo scrittore e giornalista statunitense Ernest Hemingway morì il 2 luglio 1961.
Dalla alcuni mesi era caduto in una spirale di depressione e paranoia, era costantemente preoccupato per il denaro e la sua sicurezza, vedeva nemici ad ogni angolo ed era convinto che l’FBI stesse monitorando costantemente i suoi movimenti. Aveva anche minacciato il suicidio ed era stato ricoverato due volte in ospedale dove era stato sottoposto anche a elettroshock.
Due giorni dopo il suo ritorno a casa a fine giugno del 1961, decise che era giunto il momento di farla finita

Nota finale


Successivamente fu scoperto che Hemingway era stato davvero perseguitato da agenti dell’FBI di J. Edgar Hoover dagli anni ’40, sospettosi dei suoi legami con Cuba o addirittura da un decennio prima, per il sostegno dato al governo repubblicano (socialista) in Spagna durante la guerra civile spagnola. Hoover lo aveva segnalato come un “antifascista prematuro”.
Anche se i suoi amici respinsero tutti i suoi timori, Hem era profondamente consapevole di quella sorveglianza continua, asfissiante e, come reazione, cominciò a bere molto, diventando sempre più cupo, e paranoico. Lo zelo e gli sforzi del Bureau per ottenere qualsiasi tipo di informazione che potesse danneggiarlo contribuirono notevolmente al suo suicidio.

Image: Reddit: RogerThatRubberDucky

117 thoughts on “The  Shotgun

      1. Wow. It was so fantastic. Ernest Hemingway’s life story is as intriguing as his stories. What an unfortunate end to a great talent! I have noticed one thing. Some of the great authors have displayed suicidal tendency like Sylvia Plath as well. Thanks for the wonderful share. I loved reading it. 🌹🌹🌹🌹♥️♥️

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Dear Aparna, you are right: some great authors have displayed suicidal tendency.
        Could that be because they have a more sensitive soul than the rest of humanity?🤔
        Thanks a lot for your lovely comment 🙏🌺🙏

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Luisa ! Today again you have written about a writer of my choice . Earnest Hemingway , a Novelist , a Poet , a wrestler , a Fishing expert and whatnot , was a writer who got Noble Prize for ‘A Farewell to Arms’ ultimately resorted to arms . He killed himself by his own gun in anticipation that ‘ The Sun also Rises ‘— a novel that we will remember forever . A Novelist , full of life , dared to write fearlessly . A journalist always in right side of the thing and wrongly termed by Hoover ‘ A premature anti-facist ‘. He was a master in Blank Verses and a champion in the ring as a wrestler . Thanks Luisa ! you , like Ernest Hemingway , are always in the right side of your writings .

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you very much for your kind words 🙏🙏🙏🙏
        I fully share your admiration for Hemingway, who must have spent the last months of his life in a horrible way: haunted by the FBI and not believed by those to whom he expressed his fears.

        Like

    1. Ti ringrazio, Ale. Io non sono una critica letteraria e quando parlo di scrittori autorevoli mi limito a trattare alcuni aspetti, soprattutto della loro vita, che magari non sono noti a tutti. Così mi diverto anch’io 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Dear Luisa, you have just written about one of the most loved by me writers, and the one who features in my series of great books, thank you. I love the way you presented the tragic end, somehow it brought a greater understanding of the reasons behind the decision.

    Joanna

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Dear Joanna, I am really happy with your appreciation of how I decided to present his suicide. I have been thinking about it for a couple of days and the anniversary of death, of THAT death, is making me very sad❤️

      Like

      1. I almost weep at the injustice of his fate, as through him I learned the wisest and beautiful words of all;
        “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…
        Any man’s death diminishes me because am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom
        the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

        Thank you, Luisa,

        Joanna

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Just to add to your perceptive answer, Luisa, ” Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” – The world is one family. This is a phrase found in Sanskrit and is now on the wall of the Indian Parliament in New Delhi.

        Joanna

        Liked by 2 people

  2. ;Fantastic article, dear Luisa. As usual I learn a lot , knew many of his books but nothing about his
    tortured life and the tragic end. What in his books made FBI hound him. I will re-read one and see if I notice.
    It proves how strong words can be. And he didn’t waste words in his writing. 🦋🌻

    Miriam

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dear Miriam,
      it was not only his books that made him suspicious in the eyes of the FBI, but also his entire life and his struggles in defense of freedom.
      Thank you very much !! I am glad to know that you liked this post 🙏❤️🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A sad day indeed and a sad way to go. Was the FBI so different from the KGB? The risk of becoming popular with the masses and just trying to live your best life is that you attract the attention of the authorities, who can not believe you are not doing something illegal or treasonous. Thanks for sharing and have a great Saturday Luisa. Allan

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Poveretto il troppo alcool ha fatto in modo che nessuno gli credesse, invece era proprio così. Viceversa, io credo sia giusto sia mantenere le tradizioni di famiglia, sia rispettare le scelte del prossimo. Ciascuno ha il diritto di fare quel che vuole con la sua vita.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. To me, the life of Ernest Hemingway was just as interesting as his novels – and his death was no different, which as always Luisa, you’ve explained so eloquently.

    I’ve been more of a traveller than a literary expert, and it doesn’t seem to matter where I’ve been, Ernest Hemingway had already been there (and it’s the same with Charles Dickens by the way). I don’t know if you intend following this post up with more Hemingway gems, but I see our mutual friend Joanna is, and so I’m looking forward to that. Another great post my lovely. Thank you! 😊

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you very much for this valuable comment, which I really appreciated.
      I plan to publish, for the moment, only one of his youthful poems. I leave Joanna the task of making in-depth historical, literary or scientific articles, I limit myself to dealing with small aspects that may be a little unusual, so I enjoy myself while doing research

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No i didn’t. And alas a lot of surface stuff written of his life kind of paints as this larger than life, hunting, drinking, hard living, guy the clock just ran out on . So this is an eye opener. That was a rotten to the core time for those caught up in it.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I thought you were writing about Papa. I saw a PBS special on him this past year and you captured that aspect perfectly. I have visited his house in Key West several times and you get a sense of the person while visiting there. Great job!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your appreciation.
      I think being convinced that they are constantly spying on you and not being believed must have been a horrible experience.
      Do you know that even his bedside phone at St. Mary’s Hospital had been bugged???

      Like

  7. As I started reading this I badly wanted it to be a part of some novel or so, it saddens me so much to know how his last days were spent. I wish if someone had listened to him, then perhaps he might have lived a little longer. 🥺❤️‍🩹

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Thanks for sharing this story, Luisa. From what I’ve read about J. Edgar Hoover, he ruined the lives of many innocent Americans in his hunt for communists. During that period, it could not have been easy to be targeted as a suspect.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Sapevo del suicidio di Hemingway, ma pensavo fosse a causa della sua vita dissoluta, dell’alcool. Non immaginavo ci fosse la politica dietro.Questa fissazione americana sull’essere di destra o sinistra, che tante persone ha rovinato, ha finito col distruggere un artista pieno di temperamento che tanto avrebbe avuto da scrivere! Grazie Luisa per questa verità che ignoravo!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Era diventato alcolizzato, ma forse la caccia alle streghe organizzata da Hoover , secondo me, ha contribuito notevolmente a peggiorare la sua malattia e deteriorare la sua salute mentale

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  10. Hemingway, probably more than any other writer, made me actually begin writing. His influence on me stems as much from the love of Spain we shared as it does from his writing. He’s my favorite author. It’s so sad he ended such a remarkable life the way he did. Depression is a dark illness.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Grazie. Bellissimo articolo che mi ha fatto conoscere degli aspetti che ignoravo quasi totalmente… quella mia brutta mania di avere le opere di uno scrittore nella biblioteca personale e non conoscere i retroscena del personaggio…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. the prevention of suicide should a task for a modern society, the aura of paranoia (real or fake) surrounding hemingway’s death maybe less dangerous if somebody helped him.
    and of course all that hipe abt rifles at home and cult of guns do not help.

    Liked by 2 people

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