To Hava and Have Not: The Depiction of Women

Francis Bacon once said, “Wives are young men’s mistresses, companions for middle age, and old men’s nurses.” Well, I must say, it’s nice to know that I, as a woman, am existing with the sole purpose to please men. But am I not a person? Do I not have goals and aspirations? Apparently not, if you were to ask Francis Bacon. And through the analysis of To Have and Have Not, and a look at Ernest Hemingway’s portrayal of women, you can see that he would agree with him. Throughout the book, there is the idea that a woman’s worth is determined by her beauty and appearance alone, and if a woman is not beautiful, then she must not be very intelligent. For example, there is the instance when Freddy thinks about Mrs. Laughton and then Helen Gordon. While thinking of Mrs. Gordon: “Freddy looked at her admiringly. He thought she was the prettiest stranger in Key West that winter. Prettier even than the famous beautiful Mrs. Bradley. Mrs. Bradley was getting a little big. (138)” These thoughts are juxtaposed with his thoughts of Mrs. Laughton: “That woman was goofy all right. And what kind of a man was it would pick out a woman like that to live with? Not even with your eyes shut, thought Freddy.(138)” These thoughts of these two women were based solely on their looks. Helen was small and beautiful, and Mrs. Laughton was large and had a bad complexion, thus, in Freddy’s mind, Helen Gordon was someone to be admired and Mrs. Laughton was “goofy”. This would imply that a woman is worth only as much as her face. Another example is when Richard Gordon sees Marie Morgan, only for a brief time while she rides past him on her bicycle, and assumes he knows what she’s like. “Look at that big ox, he thought. What do you suppose a woman like that thinks about?…How does her husband feel about her when she gets the size? Who do you suppose he runs around with in this town? (176)” Amazin…

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