The Need for Mental Control: Nick's Search for Peace in Hemingway's "Big Two-Hearted River"

The Need for Mental Control: Nick's Search for Peace in Hemingway's "Big Two-Hearted River"

Length: 1198 words (3.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In his short story, “Big Two-Hearted River”, Ernest Hemingway focuses on the mental and emotional state of Nick, the protagonist, who “le[aves] everything behind” during a wilderness fishing trip. Traumatic thoughts and memories haunt Nick, but the cause of his inner turmoil is not disclosed in the story. Other short stories by Hemingway, however, reveal that Nick Adams is a wounded veteran who served in the First World War. To distract himself from these painful memories, Nick concentrates on the physical details of his journey such as making camp and preparing food. In addition to self-distraction, he attempts to inhibit his ability to think through hunger and physical exhaustion. By examining how Nick uses these techniques of mental control in “Big Two-Hearted River”, one can gain a deeper understanding into his behaviour and fragile psyche. Thus, through analysis of his methods of rehabilitation, this examination will illustrate the central conflict between Nick’s subconscious thoughts and his conscious effort to repress them.
Nick attempts to avoid his traumatic memories through intentional self-distraction while he meticulously controls his external environment. Furthermore, by carefully constructing his surroundings, he is able to offer some stability to his traumatized mind. In particular, his fastidious assembly of the camp provides him with a great sense of satisfaction, for he feels that “he was there, in the good place” and “nothing could touch him.” By performing simple tasks in a methodical and systematic manner, he demands his own full attention and therefore prevents his mind from drifting. With his complete focus directed on levelling and smoothing out his campsite, his subconscious is unable to return to h...


... middle of paper ...


...ect=true
&db=a9h&AN=9406160042&site=ehost-live&scope=site.

Cirino, Mark. “Hemingway’s ‘Big Two-Hearted River’: Nick’s Strategy and the Psychology of Mental Control.” Papers on Language and Literature 47, no. 2 (2011): 115-140. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=60914786&site=ehost-live&scope=site.

Hemingway, Ernest. “Big Two-Hearted River.” In Mercury Reader, edited by Janice Neuleib, Kathleen Shine Cain, and Stephen Ruffus, 93-111. Boston, MA: Pearson Learning Solutions, 2014.

Stewart, Matthew. Modernism and Tradition in Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time: A Guide for Students and Readers. Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2001.

Summerhayes, Don. “Fish story: ways of telling in ‘Big Two-Hearted River’.” Hemingway Review 15 no. 1 (1995): 10-26. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true
&db=a9h&AN=9511291476&site=ehost-live&scope=site.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Need For Gun Control in America Essay examples

- The Second Amendment of The United States Constitution states, “[a] well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed." An AR-15 is semi automatic, high capacity firearm with a muzzle velocity of over three thousand feet per second. The rifle will fire as fast as one can pull the trigger. This commando style weapon, with high capacity magazines, in the hands of a mentally or emotionally unstable individual, is a recipe for disaster that could cause great harm and death to the innocent....   [tags: Pro Gun Control]

Strong Essays
923 words (2.6 pages)

Essay on A Need for Gun Control but Not the Governments Form

- ... Firearms fatalities has decreased by twenty eight percent from 1993 to 2000 (“Gun”). In a perfect world nobody would have to die because of a crime, but this is not a perfect world. Even though it would be great for there to be no crime, murders, violence, and attacks, that is not the case. There will always be those things, so wouldn’t it be just a little bit better if most the people who had to experience those things were criminals. People who were already set on the path of destruction, that have full intent in hurting other people....   [tags: society, kill, control, crime]

Free Essays
656 words (1.9 pages)

Gun Control A Mental Health Issue Essay

- Gun Control a Mental Health Issue Gun control recently has rapidly become an even further controversial topic due to violent acts against the public by troubled individuals. How were these attacks allowed to happen. As stated in Framing Health Matters article, “In the United States, popular and political discourse frequently focuses on the causal impact of mental illness in the aftermath of mass shootings.” (.1) This issue unfortunately remains so overlooked that media sources only offer it attention after a tragedy....   [tags: Mental health, Mental disorder, Mental illness]

Strong Essays
1594 words (4.6 pages)

Gun Control A Mental Health Issue Essay

- Gun Control a Mental Health Issue Gun control lately has rapidly become an even further controversial topic due to violent acts against the public by troubled individuals. How were these attacks allowed to happen. As stated in Framing Health Matters article, “In the United States, popular and political discourse frequently focuses on the causal impact of mental illness in the aftermath of mass shootings.” (.1) This issue unfortunately remains so overlooked that media sources only offer it attention after a tragedy....   [tags: Mental health, Mental disorder, Gun]

Strong Essays
1785 words (5.1 pages)

A Farewell Of Arms By Ernest Hemingway Essay

- A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway describes the life of a young American ambulance driver in the Italian army during World War I, Lieutenant Frederic Henry. Henry doesn’t pay much attention to the war; instead he focuses on sex and alcohol. Spending many nights in the bawdy houses with his fellow officers left Frederic wanted something more exclusive. He finds this in Catherine Barkley. Catherine is a little hesitant at the start but as time passes she becomes more relaxed and available for Frederic....   [tags: A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway]

Strong Essays
1285 words (3.7 pages)

How The School Environment Can Provide The Mental Health Services That Children Need For Success?

- As an educational institution, the priority of this district is to educate students, help in their social development, while also making sure there are programs necessary to help them function in order to active academic success. Many things can impede on children achieving success in school, one important problem that can affect a child is if they has any sort of mental illness/health issue. Mental health is an important component in children having health development and being able to learn, grow, and lead productive lives (Stagman & Cooper, 2010)....   [tags: Mental disorder, Mental health, Mental illness]

Strong Essays
1880 words (5.4 pages)

Essay about A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway

- I have read the book ”A Farewell to Arms” written by Ernest Hemingway in 1929. Ernest Hemingway was born in 1899 in Illinois, USA. When he was young the First World War broke out and he decided to join the Italian army as an ambulance driver. After the war he worked as a correspondent in Europe. As a correspondent he visited France, Spain and Greece, and among other things reported from the Spanish Civil War. He stayed in Europe during the 1920s and 1930s. In addition to his work as a journalist he began writing books....   [tags: Hemingway Farewell Arms Book Report]

Free Essays
1517 words (4.3 pages)

Argumentative Essay: America Does NOT Need Gun Control

- Americans are faced with a huge problem of violence in the streets, these streets have become a place where old people are beaten for their social security checks, where little women are attacked and raped, where teen aged thugs shoot it out for some turf to sell their illegal drugs, and finally where small children everyday are caught in the way of bullets during drive by shootings. We try to ignore the criminals in our society and how they hurt it, but we shouldn’t. We should take actions to stop these acts of crazy people....   [tags: Gun Control Essays]

Free Essays
1038 words (3 pages)

Ernest Hemingway Essay

- Ernest Hemingway The writer/artist that I chose to enlighten you with has inspired many writers as well as literature majors for many years. He continues to tickle our imaginations with the legacy that he has left us with. This man was as genuine as you can get. He was loved by many. He made an impact on any life that he came across. This man is non other than, Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway was a free spirit in an unattached sense. He loved adventure, as well as the drink. He was somewhat enterprising and approached life with added enthusiasm....   [tags: Ernest Hemingway Authors Essays]

Strong Essays
1653 words (4.7 pages)

Hemingway Essays

- Hemingway [1] Postmodernist discourses are often exclusionary even when, having been accused of lacking concrete relevance, they call attention to and appropriate the experience of "difference" and "otherness" in order to provide themselves with oppositional political meaning, legitimacy, and immediacy. Very few African-American intellectuals have talked or written about postmodernism. Recently at a dinner party, I talked about trying to grapple with the significance of postmodernism for contemporary black experience....   [tags: Hemingway Postmodernism Essays]

Free Essays
3510 words (10 pages)