Ernest Hemingway’s “Big Two-Hearted River” is a classic short story about a man’s journey to find himself. The story follows the protagonist, Nick Adams, as he travels to Michigan to fish in the river that runs through his hometown. Along the way, Nick encounters many challenges and obstacles, but ultimately finds peace and solace in the beauty of nature. “Big Two-Hearted River” is a timeless tale of self-discovery and the power of nature.
In Ernest Hemingway’s short story “Big Two-Hearted River,” the author recounts events from his own life that took place during and after World War I, when he volunteered for the American ambulance service in France and was later moved to the frontlines of Italy, where he was badly wounded.
This story starts with the narrator, Nick Adams, returning to his hometown in Michigan after being away for some time. He decides to go on a camping and fishing trip by himself in the nearby Big Two-Hearted River to try and forget about the horror he experienced during the war. Throughout the story, Hemingway uses many different literary techniques such as symbols and foreshadowing to help build up the story and give the reader a better understanding of what is going on.
One literary technique that Ernest Hemingway uses in “Big Two-Hearted River” is foreshadowing. An example of this can be seen when Nick is setting up his camp and he says “There were no bugs, and it was pleasant to be alone” (Hemingway 2). This foreshadows that Nick is going to be alone for the entirety of the story and also sets up the idea that he is trying to get away from everything. Another instance of foreshadowing in the story happens when Nick is fishing and he “saw a trout jump far out in the stream, making a silver arc in the sun” (Hemingway 15). This could be interpreted as Nick trying to escape his past, much like the trout is escaping the hook.
Ernest Hemingway also uses symbols throughout “Big Two-Hearted River” to help build up the story. One symbol that appears multiple times is fire. Fire first appears when Nick is making his dinner and he “built a fire of broken sticks” (Hemingway 11).
This could symbolize how Nick is trying to start fresh and leave his past behind him. Fire also appears later on in the story when Nick is fishing and he sees a fish jump out of the water, which “looked like a big silver arc in the sun” (Hemingway 15). This could be interpreted as how Nick is trying to escape his past, much like the trout is escaping the hook.
Overall, Ernest Hemingway uses many different literary techniques in “Big Two-Hearted River” to help build up the story and give the reader a better understanding of what is going on. By using techniques such as foreshadowing and symbols, Hemingway is able to create a story that is both enjoyable to read and easy to follow.
The tale’s hero is Nick Adams, a composite character who was created after Hemingway’s return from battle. The character in this narrative tries to overcome his war-related fears and trauma. In the story’s beginning, as Nick gets off a train and steps into Seney, a devastated burned hamlet, he discovers a place to camp.
The reader does not yet know of Nick’s wartime experiences, but the author provides contextual clues about his emotional state.
Nick Adams is a young man who has returned from the war. He is struggling to cope with the trauma he experienced during his time in combat. In order to help himself heal, Nick decides to go on a camping trip in the wilderness.
While setting up camp, Nick is careful to avoid any reminder of his time in the war. He purposefully chooses a spot that is far away from any towns or villages. He also makes sure to set up his camp near a river, so that he can have the peaceful sound of running water to help him relax.
Throughout the story, Nick goes fishing in the river. He is able to catch fish, but he does not keep any of them. Instead, he throws them all back into the water. For Nick, fishing is not about catching fish. It is about the act of fishing itself. The act of being in nature and spending time alone helps Nick to relax and forget about his troubles.
Near the end of the story, Nick finally confronts his demons. He climbs up a hill to get a better view of the river. From this vantage point, he can see the entire town that was destroyed in the war. He remembers all of the terrible things that he saw during combat, and he begins to cry.
However, after a few minutes, Nick manages to pull himself together. He realizing that he has conquered his fears. He is no longer a victim of his trauma. He is stronger now, and he can move on with his life.
This story is about Nick Adams’ journey to healing. It shows how nature can be therapeutic for those who are struggling with PTSD. It also demonstrates the importance of facing one’s fears head-on in order to overcome them.
As he watched the trout effortlessly swim around in circles in the river, he felt a sense of hope that maybe he could start over too. Perhaps he could let go of his past and live life worry-free. As the short story continues, we see Nick is indeed free from worries except for his heavy backpack weighing him down. He notices a grasshopper attacking his sock and Hemingway uses this symbolize new life as Nick sets the hopper free to fly away.
The deep wading in the water is a relief to Nick as he felt the need to start over and be cleansed. When Nick returns to camp, he’s exhausted from all the hiking and swimming, but he’s content because he was able to forget about his problems and feel free.
Ernest Hemingway was an American author and journalist. His economical and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s, and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. He published seven novels, six short story collections, and two non-fiction works. Three of his novels, four short story collections, and three non-fiction works were published posthumously.