Ernest Miller Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899, in Oak Park, Illinois. Clarence Edmonds Hemingway was a medical doctor and invented surgical forceps. Hemingway's mother Grace Hall Hemingway considered herself pure and proper. She was a dreamer and taught her children to always act with decorum. The town of Oak Park, where Ernest grew up was old fashioned and very religious. Ernest was quite the explorer and when he couldn't go out, he escaped to his room and read books.
As a student he was a perfectionist about his grammar and was very excited to study English. He attended Oak Park High School where he joined the school newspaper and was part of a variety of extra-curricular activities. However, it seemed the principle did not approve of Ernest's writing and complained often about the content of his articles. .
During World War I Hemingway was rejected from the service because of a bad left eye. He became an ambulance driver in Italy for the Red Cross. While on duty Ernest got shot in his knee and was sent to the hospital to recuperate. In the hospital he meets and falls in love with a nurse at the hospital called Agnus. After being turned down by Agnus he moves to Chicago where he lives one big party life. He moved in with a friend and began working for the Toronto Star. He met and fell in love with Hadley Richardson in Chicago. Hadley was the first in a series of wives Ernest would later have. She saw his interest in writing and bought him a typewriter. Ernest wrote three stories and ten poems by the time Hadley had given birth to a son they named John Hadley Nicano Hemingway.
Around 1925, Hemingway wrote The Sun Also Rises. A year later he was able to finish a story that he had started previously called A Farewell to Arms. Both novels showed Hemingway's obsession with death. During World War II, Ernest became a secret agent for the United States. It was at this time that he became a heavy drinker because of his time by himself on the boat.