For Ernest Hemingway, writing was a ritual which confronted human inadequacy. Rituals, according to Hemingway, are physical, male activities involving artistry, sport, or spirituality. The greatest ritual of all was the confrontation between man and animal. The purpose of human and animal confrontation in Hemingway's works was not to show human superiority or conquest over animals. In fact, Hemingway often drew upon human and animal likenesses. Hemingway had the greatest sense of spirituality when he was in nature. He was at peace when he is fishing, and he felt the most alive when he was hunting. He understood the art of bullfighting like few Americans did. As seen in several of Hemingway's works, it is during man's rituals with animals that life is lived to the fullest extent and the greatest sense of being is found. .
A great many of Hemingway's works are based on his own life experiences. He spent much of his childhood hunting and fishing with his father in the woods of northern Michigan. He enjoyed physical activity, like boxing and playing football. After volunteering for the American Red Cross as an ambulance driver, he was seriously injured but went on to join the Italian infantry. Following World War I, Hemingway returned to Michigan to write, hunt, and fish. In the 1920s he moved to Paris to work as a newsman. It was during this time that Hemingway and a group of ex-patriot American artists and writers became known as the "lost generation."" These people were devastated by the war and expressed the disillusionment and brutality of humanity in their works. Hemingway later moved to Key West, Florida and then Cuba following the outbreak of World War II. While working in Spain, Hemingway developed a love of bull fighting and become an aficionado, that is, passionate about bullfighting (Shaw, 1973). In 1954 while traveling to Africa for a hunting excursion, Hemingway was injured in two plane crashes.