Big Two Hearted River Part 1 Analysis

Great Essays
“Big Two Hearted River: Part 1,” a chapters in Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time, reads like a third-person narrative of a young man’s camping trip in the wilderness. However, through close examination of the details in the story, it slowly comes to light that the events that transpire in the young man’s excursions are somewhat related to his experiences in war. Hemingway’s account observes how war changes an individual as they return home, thus leaving them unsettled. Nick, our protagonist, isn’t necessarily unhappy, but is different and slightly shaken but his past. On the surface it does appear as if Nick is happily camping, yet multiple symbols in the story including his inner dialogue suggest that his way of thinking, outlook on his surroundings, and respect for autonomy have all been changed since he became a soldier. Nick’s actions are infused with habits and tendencies that, even if he had already somewhat done them prior to entering the war, would have developed as a soldier. For example, he approaches everything with either a mental checklist or a second nature procedure. That seems like a normal action of a camper. But Hemingway’s wording suggests constant caution in Nick’s actions. For example, while walking across the plain, Nick aimed to “hit the river as far upstream …show more content…
For the most part, he does appear to be content traveling in the wilderness, watching fish, making coffee, and sitting by the fire. But the smallest details paint the most complex pictures in “The Big Two Hearted River: Part 1.” Soldiers return home from war changed and unsettled. After being molded to live and survive in a stressful environment, even after they leave, the environment remains a piece of them, whether in the form of habits, emotional flashbacks, or new perspectives. Nick tries to go about his life as simply and normally as he can, but he cannot shake his identity as a soldier. He remains unsettled by the effects of

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