Monday, June 17, 2013

thesis tidbit

Working on wrapping up this thesis, thought this bit was worth sharing...

Another good example, linking Nick Adams the character to Hemingway the author is the description of Nick Adams provided in the short story Fathers and Sons. The description is a spot on personification of Clarence Hemingway. Nick begins recalling his father while thinking about him teaching him to hunt quail as a boy. Nick notes the fine quality of his father’s eyes and characterizes him as having, “a big frame, the quick movements, the wide shoulders, the hooked, hawk nose, the beard that covered the weak chin.” (Shorts, 370.)  Still, Hemingway, channeled through Nick, comes back to the eyes, “they were the great gift his father had, his father saw as a big horn ram, or as an eagle sees, literally.” (Shorts, 370) Nick continues in a longer passage:
Like all men with a faculty that surpasses human requirements, his father was very nervous. Then too, he was sentimental, and, like most sentimental people, he was both cruel and abused. Also, he had much bad luck, and it was not all of it his own. He had died in a trap that he had helped only a little to set, and they had all betrayed him in their various ways before he died. All sentimental people are betrayed so many times. Nick could not write about him yet, although he would later, but the quail country made him remember him as he was when Nick was a boy and he was very greatful to him for two things: fishing and shooting. (Shorts, 370.)

The absolute authenticity of the autobiographical subject matter Hemingway so often wove into his artistic work is questionable, however, this particular rendering of Clarence Hemingway rings true, showing again a clear linkage between author and man. Shortly after the descriptive passage Nick continues to ponder the dilemma of his father, stating that “If he wrote it, he could get rid of it. He had gotten rid of many things by writing them.” (Shorts, 371.) This shows, aside form social conditioning, a young man wrestling with the past that shaped him and using his creative output for catharsis, further strengthening the link between Hemingway’s work, characters, and himself. (Shorts, 371.)

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