Considered by Hemingway himself to be one of his finest stories, "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" was first published in Esquire in 1936 and then republished in The Fifth Column and the First Forty-nine Stories (1938).
The story centers on the memories of a writer who is on safari in Africa. He develops an infected wound from a thorn puncture, and lies awaiting his slow death. This loss of physical capability causes him to look inside himself—at his memories of the past years, and how little he has actually accomplished in his writing. He realizes that although he has seen and experienced many wonderful and astonishing things during his life, he had never made a record of the events; his status as a writer is contradicted by his reluctance to actually write. He also quarrels with the woman with him, blaming her for his living decadently and forgetting his failure to write of what really matters to him, namely his experiences among poor and "interesting" people, not the predictable upper class crowd he has fallen in with lately. Thus he dies, having lived through so much and yet having lived only for the moment, with no regard to the future. In a dream he sees a plane coming to get him and take him to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.