Green Hills of Africa Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 31 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Green Hills of Africa.
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Green Hills of Africa Summary & Study Guide Description

Green Hills of Africa Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Green Hills of Africa by Ernest Hemingway.

This memoir of a month in the life of famed writer Ernest Hemingway follows the author and his companions through the wilds of Africa as they hunt its indigenous animal life. Detailed descriptions of actual hunts and of the untamed African scenery are tellingly juxtaposed with thematic explorations of the parallels between creativity and hunting and the nature of competitiveness.

The first part of the narrative, "Pursuit and Conversation", begins with the author and his hunting party returning from yet another frustratingly unsuccessful hunt for what the author has decided is his ultimate trophy, the elusive kudu. On the way back to camp, he and the others encounter a visiting Austrian, Kandisky, who is having trouble with his truck. Kandisky recognizes the author, who already has an international reputation even at this relatively early point in his life and career. The men engage in a brief but intense literary debate, and after refusing the author's help, Kandisky agrees to visit him in his camp later. At the camp, a literary debate again ensues, in parallel with the author's frustrated conversation with his hunting companion, Colonel "Pop" Phillips, about how he's unable to get his kudu. Kandisky leaves, and the author settles down for the night.

In Part 2 of the narrative, "Pursuit Remembered", the author takes the reader back to the earlier days of this particular hunting trip. He narrates the development of his competitive relationship with his friend Karl, and his deepening awareness of the various similarities between the acts of creating and hunting. Also in Part 2, the author describes (in considerable detail), the successive hunting trips both he and Karl took in pursuit of their respective goals, and the varied successes and failures that resulted from both trips. The author's increasing frustration leads him to sudden explosions of temper and to what appears to be an increased dependence on alcohol, particularly whiskey, drunk in order to ease that frustration. Part 2 ends with the author's unhappy discovery that Karl has bagged the first kudu of the hunt. Even the fact that the trophy/head is singularly unattractive does little to ease the author's bitter, competitive disappointment.

Part 3, "Pursuit and Failure", begins on a note of camaraderie between the author and M'Cola, united both in their mutual disgust with the useless guides they've been saddled with and in determination to get a better trophy than Karl. That camaraderie quickly evaporates, however, in response to the author's deep and sharp frustration with his inability to bag a kudu. In spite of M'Cola's efforts to calm him with tea, the author drinks himself into an angry sleep with whiskey. The next day, on yet another attempt to get a kudu, he is caught in the rain, and his gun gets wet. He asks M'Cola to clean it, but later (on still another hunting expedition) is furious to discover that he has not. There is no confrontation between the two men, however - their tension unfolds in silence, and the author realizes there's nothing to be gained from anger. Part 3 ends with the author receiving word of a hitherto unexplored hunting ground where the kudu, apparently, are easily obtainable, and hurriedly packing up and leaving, excited at the prospect of finally achieving his goal.

The opening narration of Part 4, "Pursuit as Happiness", describes a beautiful, untouched and unspoiled part of Africa through which the author and his party roar in their truck in pursuit of kudu. They do eventually find not one but two beautiful kudu - and then, flushed and eager with success, the author decides to go after another trophy, the elusive sable. His efforts to find them meet with further success, but his efforts to bring one down meet with profoundly frustrating failure, as he chases a wounded sable across the countryside. When he returns to his base camp, he is even more frustrated to discover that Karl has killed an even more beautiful kudu. The author swallows his initial resentment and eventually finds himself able to congratulate his friend/rival.

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