Tuan’s Time in Experiential Space & Ernest Hemingway’s The Snows of Kilimanjaro

Post Seven 

     The chapter called “Time in Experiential Space” of Tuan’s “Space and Place” explains how people relate time with space. In everything humans do, they use their ideas of “movement, effort, freedom, goal and accessibility” as a way to define their life experiences of daily living (Tuan 118). The story of Ernest Hemingway’s “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” represents Tuan’s use of space, “as the sphere of freedom from physical constraint and time as duration” providing this concept of understanding how space and time intertwines with each other (118). It takes time to serve a purpose or develop to a goal within a space. People often procrastinate and do not use their time productively, but when one knows that when they are running out of time, one tends to use their time effectively. The main character in “The Snows of Hilimanjaro” was a great example of how one learns a lot about himself as time ticks down.

     The main character named Harry proved Tuan’s use of time within space. Harry’s perspective of time signifies to be very symbolic in this story. Throughout the story, he had little faith in their situation being stuck on a safari in Africa because he thought he was going to die. His confrontation to death made him reflect on his life. He keeps talking about her relationship with Helen, his wife, questioning and confused about his love to her. As they are stranded with loose/free time, Helen showed that she cares for him and only wanted to comfort him. Harry on the other hand, seemed to be bothered by her presence and wanted to be alone away from her. The significance of this event proved that since Harry is thinking that he is going to die, as “time winds down”, he is reflecting on his life experiences and to sum it up, he regrets being with Helen.

     Throughout the story, there are flashbacks of Harry’s life moments or scenes that are important in the past. It proved to be critical because while reflecting on his past experiences, he thought that as a writer, he was a failed artist. He showed that he has another reason of regret.  As a writer, he knew he should have written his life experiences down on paper. His frustration in thinking about his past led to his anger and attitude aimed directly toward to his wife. As they are waiting for a plane to arrive for their rescue, it gave a sense of hope as her wife tried to cheer him up from his frustrations.

     Time in experiential space is significant in everybody’s lives. Very much like Harry, the manifesting or subjective reality seemed to affect Harry mentally. Harry, knowing the fact that there might be no future, he still looks back and feels that what ‘lies in the realm of expectancy and of desire’ (Tuan 120) he felt he did not reach up to his full potential. He reflected on his life, making him realize that he regret being with a wealthy woman that he took for granted as a way out for an easy living life. He’d rather be that writer he always wanted to be and to love someone he actually loved, not to be with someone who is financially set for life and lose all the things he ever wanted to be. People tend to take life for granted, but when they know they might not live anymore, that is when one thinks critically and effectively.

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14 Comments so far

  1.   kgarcia103 on March 31st, 2011

    Good connection with procrastination. It’s often the best ideas made up at the last minute. In this case as you mentioned Harry’s. Of course the procrastination allowed him to roam his mental mind giving him some kind of freedom. As a question to your response, did Harry achieve anything at the end or is this story just a lesson to get things right the first time around? Good response.

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