Renewing The Spirit Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 08:06:56
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Category: Spirit

Type of paper: Essay

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The short story, Big Two-Hearted River explores the renewal of a scarred spirit. It describes the physical and spiritual journey of Nick Adams, a soldier who suffers World War I shell shock trauma. Consisting of two parts, the story documents Nick going on a camping trip and subsequently cleansing his scarred spirit and renewing himself. The first part covers Nick returning to his home and leaving for the woods alone. As he goes hiking, he comes upon the town of Seney, which is gutted and razed to the ground.

Moving on, he later chooses a place where to set up camp. In the second part of the story, we read the detailed actions of Nick preparing for a fishing activity before he goes into the river. He grows courageous and grows bold, finally conquering his fear of the swamp by conquering his desire to fish in it. This short story is unusual in the way that there is little action that happens; we dont see the usual formula of character versus environment or character versus other characters.

Instead we see a lot of action in the characters inner self; in his struggle to find peace within himself. The action in this story is more intrapersonal in nature. Nevertheless, the insight it offers is invaluable. The thoughts and emotions of Nick, the character, are so palpable that the reader cannot help but sympathize and empathize with him. As a result, the reader rallies for Nick to triumph over the psychological trauma he has suffered, and there is no disappointment in this.

The last scene of the story shows hope for Nick, as it illustrates his recovery. His camping trip and his fishing adventure redeems him from the negativity he has suffered; he is slowly returning to his old self, the man who enjoyed the outdoors, enjoyed life, before the war scarred his soul.


Hemingway, E. S. (1996). In Our Time. New York: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group

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