Now I Lay Me Analysis

Decent Essays
Ernest Hemingway’s “Now I Lay Me” (1927) covers the effects of post traumatic stress disorder on Nick after he is wounded in the war. Nick suffers from some form of panic as his mind creates a severe terror after he is bombed in the night. Unable to sleep because he is afraid of dying, Nick instead chooses a form of self-care which relies heavily on his own memory of scenes from his life before the war, his religion and his favorite pre-war pastime. While it seems that Nick is coping with his newfound fear of death via remembering life before the war, he is actually reverting to a childish version of himself in which he is no longer at war. As John attempts to convince him of the benefits of marrying an Italian girl, Nick is still unable to …show more content…
Nick’s connection of sleep with death, or rather with his soul slipping from his body without his consent, causes him to shun the action. So, instead of sleeping as the other soldiers do, he keeps himself awake by dreaming of fishing. Nick states that, as a boy, he would fish along a “trout stream” and so nightly, he attempts to revisit his time along the water (Hemingway 124). His memories whilst fishing keep him occupied throughout the night as he reinvents the dream so that sometimes he may fish in “four or five different streams in the night” (Hemingway 125). By reinventing his dream, Nick takes control of his own memories so he still is in charge of what is happening in his mind, if he cannot be in control of what is happening around him. He even goes as far as to make up streams which were sometimes “very exciting” as they give him more opportunity to shape how he sees himself and the world around him (Hemingway 125). When Nick imagines the past, he “creates a stay against his fears by fishing in his half dreams rivers he had fished in his youth and knew well” (Hemingway on Fishing 12). Because the war is unknown and the fear of death itself stems from the fear of the unknown, Nick relives what he knows, something that makes him feel safe and in control. Nick’s memories of fishing, real or imagined, complete his ideals of life which are not met by being in the

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