21 Wrenching Ernest Hemingway Quotes On Life And War

Published March 26, 2015
Updated May 4, 2018

13. From A Farewell to Arms:

The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.

Ernest Hemingway Noncombatant Card

Hemingway’s war correspondent identity card for the European Theater, issued in 1944. Source: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

14. “Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.”

15. From his book on Spanish bullfighting, Death in the Afternoon:

The individual, the great artist when he comes, uses everything that has been discovered or known about his art up to that point, being able to accept or reject in a time so short it seems that the knowledge was born with him, rather than that he takes instantly what it takes the ordinary man a lifetime to know, and then the great artist goes beyond what has been done or known and makes something of his own.

16. From the same book:

There are some things which cannot be learned quickly, and time, which is all we have, must be paid heavily for their acquiring. They are the very simplest things and because it takes a man’s life to know them the little new that each man gets from life is very costly and the only heritage he has to leave.

17. From The Old Man and the Sea:

Every day above earth is a good day.

18. In a letter to the writer Malcolm Cowley:

You see it’s awfully hard to talk or write about your own stuff because if it is any good you yourself know about how good it is — but if you say so yourself you feel like a shit.

19. From his essay “A Letter from Cuba”:

All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse, and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer.

20. From his preface to a collection of his short stories:

In going where you have to go, and doing what you have to do, and seeing what you have to see, you dull and blunt the instrument you write with. But I would rather have it bent and dulled and know I had to put it on the grindstone again and hammer it into shape and put a whetstone to it, and know that I had something to write about, than to have it bright and shining and nothing to say, or smooth and well oiled in the closet, but unused.

21. From For Whom the Bell Tolls:

The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for and I hate very much to leave it.

If you enjoyed these Ernest Hemingway quotes, read some of the most memorable quotes from George Orwell, deep quotes about life and interesting quotes that will change how you see the world.

John has been writing for All That Is Interesting since 2014 and now lives in Madrid, Spain, where he writes and consults on international development projects in East Africa.