Preview
Preview

Ernest Hemingway's Big Two-Hearted River Essay

No Works Cited
Length: 1508 words (4.3 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document




- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The world of Ernest Hemingway’s “Big Two-Hearted River” exists through the mostly unemotional eyes of the character Nick. Stemming from his reactions and the suppression of some of his feelings, the reader gets a sense of how Nick is living in a temporary escape from society and his troubles in life. Despite the disaster that befell the town of Seney, this tale remains one of an optimistic ideal because of the various themes of survival and the continuation of life. Although Seney itself is a wasteland, the pine plain and the campsite could easily be seen as an Eden, lush with life and ripe with the survival of nature.

The world in the story exists as two separate but connected places. The first that Nick encounters is the charred remains of the town of Seney, where there is “nothing but the rails and the burned-over country.” The second place is the “alive” pine plain. The river, interestingly, runs through both parts, showing how they are interconnected. The river is a means of natural connection, while the man-made railroad is another form of connecting one town to the next. By combining these two forms of connection, it could be said that every place is interconnected. Using only the river as the natural form, it connects all forms of life within the world to one another.

Seney exists as the wasteland, having been ravaged and destroyed by fire to the point of complete desolation. The town is described by what it is lacking as a contrast to what Nick had remembered to have been there, yet Nick does not display any sensation of loss. He had merely “expected to find” the town as it was before the fire, but when he does not, he simply goes to the river to watch the trout. It the trout that s...


... middle of paper ...


...Nick is not yet ready for. In this way it could represent his return to civilization, which he is not yet ready for, and he therefore will continue his Edenic hiatus.

While Nick himself does not react to his world as either specifically wasteland or Eden, the reader must realize that the story is a commentary on survival. Survival is a quality of an anti-wasteland, and although the town of Seney has been destroyed it will someday re-emerge. Even if it does not happen immediately, survival will go on in other places, and this is certainly an optimistic view of life. Whether it is Nick and the black grasshoppers’ temporary means, or the eternal survival of all of nature, the entire world cannot ever become an all enveloping wasteland.


Work Cited

Hemingway, Ernest. “Big Two Hearted River.” In Our Time. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1970.



Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
The Need for Mental Control: Nick's Search for Peace in Hemingway's "Big Two-Hearted River" - 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....   [tags: Ernest Hemingway, Big Two Hearted River]
:: 5 Works Cited
1198 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Ernest Hemingway's Big Two-Hearted River and Sigmund Freud Essay - Ernest Hemingway's Big Two-Hearted River and Sigmund Freud Ernest Hemingway’s “iceberg theory” suggests that the writer include in the text only a small portion of what he knows, leaving about ninety percent of the content a mystery that grows beneath the surface of the writing. This type of writing lends itself naturally to a version of dream-interpretation, as this story structure mirrors the structure of the mind—the restrained, composed tip of the unconscious and the vast body of subconscious that is censored by the ego....   [tags: Hemingway Two Hearted River Freud Essays]
:: 3 Works Cited
2413 words
(6.9 pages)
Research Papers [preview]
Essay about Ernest Hemingway's Big Two-Hearted River - In Ernest Hemmingway’s “Big Two-Hearted River”, Nick returns home after the war and visits a favorite fishing spot. Dual sides of Nick are shown as he ventures within nature and manifest in his consciousness and subconsciousness. While Nick’s conscious self wants to divert all attention from thoughts of the past, his subconscious thoughts occasionally slip through and reveal that he wishes to confront his past and move forward. Nick allows his consciousness to be submerged by the scenery, and in focusing on nature and the menial tasks at hand he is able to repress the memories and feelings that are associated with the war....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Sumamry, Review, Characters]
:: 2 Works Cited
1444 words
(4.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on Thoughts of War in Big Two Hearted River by Ernest Hemingway - ... Back in the war Nick had a friend by the name of Hopkins. Hopkins was a big coffee drinker and Nick was not so when Nick deicide to make coffee it reminded him of an argument that Hopkins and Nick had gotten into about which way coffee is suppose to be made. “He could not remember which way he made coffee. He could remember an argument about it with Hopkins, but not which side he had taken. He decided to bring it to a boil. He remembered now that was Hopkins’s way.” (Hemingway 1925). Every move Nick has made is a way most people would keep themselves happy, in this case Nick remember a happy time in his life and reenact it....   [tags: experiences, war, injured, pain, soul] 784 words
(2.2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
A Man's Struggle to Heal Himself in Big Two-Hearted River Essays - A Man's Struggle to Heal Himself in Big Two-Hearted River Ernest Hemingway's "Big Two-Hearted River"* is such a rich text that it has probably received more literary critical attention than many novels of several times its length. Hemingway's ardent use of intricate detail and his intentional, calculated use of short, simple sentences help to make "River" a treasure chest of critical ideas and possible interpretations. Historically, much of the criticism of "River" has examined the dark underlying themes of the story, such as the alleged omission of some preceding, devastating event and Nick's wounded spiritual and mental state....   [tags: Big Two-Hearted River Essays]
:: 9 Works Cited
2968 words
(8.5 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Nick’s Psychological Development in Ernest Hemingway’s "In Our Time" Essay - Nick’s Psychological Development in Ernest Hemingway’s "In Our Time"      In Hemingway’s collection of short stories, In Our Time, we follow a character by the name of Nick Adams. We are introduced to Nick in “Indian Camp” as a young boy, and follow him to adulthood in both Parts I and II of “Big Two-Hearted River”. Through this we see Nick develop and learn about some major facts of life. Nick is a character who changes through the effects of war on many different levels. Although Hemingway hardly mentions the war, he uses the stories to express different effects and emotions caused by the war....   [tags: Ernest Hemingway Our Time Essays] 1546 words
(4.4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The Relation Between the Setting And the Character In The Yellow Wallpaper and Big Two-Hearted River - The Relation Between the Setting And the Character In The Yellow Wallpaper and Big Two-Hearted River The aim of this paper is to analyze the importance and relation of the setting and characters in the two short stories: "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Ernest Hemingway's "Big Two-Hearted River". The setting in "The Yellow Wallpaper" helps illustrate the theme of solitary confinement and exclusion from the public resulting in insanity. The house rented by the characters for the summer as well as the surrounding scenery suggest an isolated environment....   [tags: Papers] 607 words
(1.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Depiction of Nature in Ernest Hemingway's Unfinished Story, The Last Good Country - The Depiction of Nature in Ernest Hemingway's Unfinished Story, The Last Good Country Ecological criticism in the 1990s has declared many works, including Ernest Hemingway's novels like The Old Man and the Sea, and many of his nonfiction works and short stories as nature-oriented masterpieces. "The Last Good Country," one of Ernest Hemingway's later short stories, however, still remains to be reinterpreted as more than merely, "a metaphor for childhood innocence" (Werlock 131), and his usual "imaginative use of the natural world" (Fleming 2)....   [tags: Hemingway Last Good Country Essays]
:: 10 Works Cited
2521 words
(7.2 pages)
Research Papers [preview]
Essay about Analysis of Style and Theme in Works by Ernest Hemingway - Analysis of Style and Theme in Works by Ernest Hemingway This research paper will analyze style and theme in two of Ernest Hemingway's short stories, "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" and "The Big Two-Hearted River," and two novels, The Sun Also Rises and Green Hills of Africa.1 "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" is about an author named Harry, who is lying on the African plain and dying of gangrene. "The Big Two-Hearted River" is about an ex-World War I soldier, Nick, who is trying to put his life back together after the war....   [tags: Biography Biographies Essays]
:: 5 Works Cited
3081 words
(8.8 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Ernest Hemingway Essay - Ernest Hemingway Ernest Hemingway was a great American author. He was a giant of modern literature. Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899. He was the first son of Clarence and Grace Hall Hemingway and the second of their six children. Hemingway’s gather was a doctor and his mother was a music teacher. Hemingway’s parents owned a cabin in northern Michigan where he spent most of his summers hunting and fishing, being separated from the rest of middle-class society....   [tags: essays research papers fc]
:: 1 Works Cited
1323 words
(3.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]