Hemingway was working on A Farewell to Arms, and they were traveling a great deal--fishing on the rented Anita and then on Hemingway's beloved boat the Pilar from Havana, Bimini, and Key West; sporting vacations in Montana and Wyoming; family visits to Oak Park and Pauline's family home in Piggott, Arkansas. It was also a family time. In June 1928 their son Patrick was born in Kansas City. After a visit to Oak Park, Hemingway worried about his father's health. Clarence was very depressed, and just before Christmas, he shot himself. A hurting Hemingway finished A Farewell to Arms, and it was successful. Again he had turned his experiences into powerful fiction. "If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them," Lt. Frederic Henry reflects. "The world breaks everyone and afterwards 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." (56) "This is one of the most beautiful pages in all English literature," F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote of this page of the manuscript. (57) The writing, the friendships, and the family relationships continued.
Hemingway's lean, disciplined style made the writing and the living seem simple. He focused on one point and wrote very clearly about that point. But if we put all the stories together, all the pieces, a very complex picture emerges. Neither the living nor the writing was easy. "There's no rule on how it is to write," Hemingway wrote his editor Charles Poore in 1953. "Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly. Sometimes it is like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges." (58) Because A Farewell to Arms was being serialized in Scribner's Magazine, Hemingway had six months to struggle with the ending. He left forty-four pages of alternate endings, a record even for the meticulous Hemingway, who would write out or retype a page until he was satisfied with it. Fitzgerald sent Hemingway ten handwritten pages of comments on the draft of the novel, and Hemingway's response was "Kiss my ass." (59)
Pauline and Hemingway's second son, Gregory, was born in November 1931. The intimate side of Hemingway as son, husband, father, and successful big brother is revealed in his letters to his family. He was very much involved in their lives and concerned about their welfare, often more than they wished. He gave financial support and unsolicited advice. He was sometimes heavy-handed, especially with his sisters and his sons, but he always cared. As his son Gregory wrote, "The man I remembered was kind, gentle, elemental in his vastness, tormented beyond endurance, and although we always called him papa, it was out of love, not fear." (60)
As with his friends, he formed strong feelings for or against the people his family were involved with. He would have four wives and divorce three times, but he felt he was right when he strongly objected to the man his sister Carol wished to marry. When she went ahead with the marriage, Hemingway broke with her for the rest of his life. (The marriage lasted.)
In 1933 Pauline's wealthy Uncle Gus gave them a safari to Africa. Hemingway was "totally captivated by the prospect and made endless preparations." (61) The safari lasted only ten weeks but had a great impact on Hemingway. "Everything he saw seemed to have made an indelible impression on him," (62) and he used his experiences as the basis for his nonfictional account of big game hunting, Green Hills of Africa, and some of his finest stories including "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" and "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber."