Brother Leicester chooses the heroic interpretation: "Like a samurai who felt dishonored by the word or deed of another, Ernest felt his own body had betrayed him." Having hunted with his big brother, and heard him talk about giving animals "the gift of death," Leicester believes that Hemingway chose to give it to himself.
Key West being a bastion of free thinkers even in the thirties, Prohibition was looked on as an amusing exercise dreamed up by the government–and Joe Russell was just one of the enterprising individuals who operated illegal speakeasies. Even Ernest Hemingway, who made Key West his home at the time, slipped over to Russell’s on occasion to buy illicit bottles of Scotch, and the two struck up an enduring friendship.
Ernest Hemingway House - Wikipedia
The renowned Hemingway Days Festival itself began at Sloppy Joe’s in 1981, ultimately becoming a weeklong celebration honoring Hemingway as both writer and sportsman. Today it incorporates events including an internationally recognized short story competition, street fair, and storytelling contest.