The main theme of the short story “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” by Ernest Hemingway is death. 

Harry’s death is caused by an insignificant, unexpected event: “a thorn had scratched his knee as they moved forward trying to photograph a herd of waterbuck” (p. 46, ll. 20-22). This seems to contradict his own dreams of having great adventures and being a famous writer. 

Harry goes through several stages before he reaches some sort of acceptance of his own end.

At first, Harry is afraid of death, anticipating that it will be accompanied by incapacitating pain. He remembers what happened to Williamson during the war, who was hurt so badly that he begged to be put out of his misery (p. 53, ll. 27-39). This is why he is pleasantly surprised to notice that his pain has stopped once gangrene set in (p. 39, ll. 1-2). He believes that his c...

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