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WR150 Portfolio

Additionally the stories are not in a chronological

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Additionally, the stories are not in a chronological order. It goes back and forth between Nick’s boyhood, to scenes of war, to stories of relationships and bullfights. This makes it easy for the book to be accepted as a fragmented novel. However, despite the arguments about structure provided by Moddelmog and Brogan, both scholars fail to acknowledge the key message Hemingway tries to prove through his book. He portrays a lot of scenes revolving around war through the graphic short stories and vignettes as well as the characterization of Nick Adams. Without a doubt, it is clear that Nick Adams is a young boy in the opening stories. In “Indian Camp”, Nick goes to an Indian camp with his father who performs a C-section on a pregnant lady. The dialogue between Nick and his father make it clear that Nick is still naïve, and is unaware about life and death. After the Indian woman has her baby, her husband commits suicide and Nick experiences death for the first time. He asks, “‘is dying hard, Daddy?’” (Hemingway 19). Shortly after they leave, as his father is rowing away from the camp, “[Nick] felt quite sure that he would never die” (Hemingway 19). The feeling of immortality that Nick briefly experiences is juvenile and shows that he is not at a mature age. Even the environment he surrounded by shows how Nick would have the feeling of immortality, “The sun was coming up over the hills. A bass jumped, making a circle in the water…It felt warm in the sharp chill of the morning (Hemingway 19). Aside from the violence he just experienced, this serene setting, with a new day starting, gives Nick the impression that nothing could ever go wrong. Further in Hemingway’s novel, he depicts an image of Nick actually in war and introduces very graphic scenes
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47 Jung describing it. In one of the vignettes, named “Chapter VI”, Nick was physically hurt, “Nick sat against the wall of the church where they had dragged him to be clear machine- gun fire…he had been hit in the spine” (Hemingway 63). It is hard for Nick to be the same person and look at life and death the same way after getting severely hurt and facing death everyday. His experiences at war clearly have a negative effect on his character. The last short story, “Big Two-Hearted River” depicts his change because it takes place after Nick returns from war and it is obvious in the way Nick acts and thinks. In Philip Young’s essay, Adventures of Nick Adams , he highlights this point through his analysis of Nick. As mentioned by Young, “‘Big Two-Hearted River’ presents a picture of a sick man, and of a man who is in escape…Nick obviously knows what is the matter… he must keep himself physically occupied” (Young 19). The traumatic events that Nick experiences at war make it hard for him to do normal, everyday tasks. He always needs to keep himself occupied with something, whether it is fishing, or cooking. He also changes the way in which he carries out his actions. It is very step-by-step and methodical. Aside from physical changes, the war also mentally changes Nick. He thinks more simply than
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