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Hemingway & His Character of Nick Adams

Ernest Hemingway is particular noted for his spare style, which seems much simpler than it actually is, and his celebration of a certain type of hero who has been tested, usually by war, and who emerges with a new outlook on life and the world. These heroes are usually thought to reflect elements of Hemingway's own life and personality, and this can be seen in several characters representing different aspects of Hemingway's life.

The character of Nick Adams in the stories collected as In Our Time. He and Hemingway have a similar ambivalence toward their small-town roots, and Nick seems to represent the younger Hemingway. Nick is a young man who still has a certain optimism which supports him as he travels and eventually enters the First World War. Nick lives at a time of war, and in the stories about him there is a contrast between the world of Michigan, the small-town world from which he, and Hemingway, came, and the world of the war to which he is sent. Nick finds that the idyllic nature of Michigan is not as idyllic as it has seemed, as in "The Big Two-Hearted River" in which his beloved hunting becomes something that recalls the horrors of war and that shows a violence and pettiness in the small town that saddens him. Nick had a good relationship with his father as the two hunted together and as the father tired to teach the boy how to deal with the realities and pressures of this life. Nick finds a contrast between his life and Michigan and life in Europe and so begins to question the nature of American life in many ways.

The Nick stories often present a clash between innocence and experience as Nick encounters people more world-weary than he. In "The Battler," Hemingway offers a story that serves as a cautionary tale for those who would try to fight the world, for the world will always win. Hemingway achieves his purpose in this story by presenting action without external narration or explanation, allowing the e...

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Hemingway & His Character of Nick Adams. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:18, May 25, 2020, from