Hemingway's Portrayal Of Nicks Consolation Essay

1280 words - 5 pages

Webster's Dictionary defines comfort as, 'to give strength, hope to, or to console' (61). People find strength or consolation in different ways. Each person has a unique manner and need for that special thing that comforts them. Baker writes that: 'Hemingway , on several accounts, writes of a man named Nick Adams. Hemingway uses Nick throughout most of his stories. Primarily, he uses this character in about five stories that have been grouped together that critics refer to as 'The Education of Nick Adams' (129). Adams is Hemingway's character that critics believe to be his means of writing about his own life. Hemingway shows us that Nick finds his consolation in his father.Hemingway's depiction of Mrs. Henry Adams, Nick's mother, portrays her to be an overbearing and obnoxious woman. Benson describes Mrs. Adams as: 'Nicks mother is a woman who smothers sweetly with that peculiar self righteous intensity which is born of Victorian moral certainty' (6). Mrs. Adams constantly questions the actions of Dr. Adams and Nick. According to Jackson Benson, after the row with Dick Boulton in 'The Doctor and the Doctor's Wife,' Mrs. Adams only attempts to second guess Dr. Adams.Instead of backing her husband up or sympathizing with him, Mrs. Adams scolds her husband and expresses the suspicion that it was Dr. Adams who caused all the trouble. Her tone effectively reduces thedoctors status to that of a little boy. Her further refusal to believe her husband after patronizingly urging him not to 'try tokeep anything from me' belittles him into a posture not only of a naughty little boy, but a sulky and not even a very trustworthy one (8).Hemingway shows Mrs. Adams almost as an evil empress who wants control over her family. The setting around Mrs. Adams gives the reader an impression of power. Benson describes the setting as:Like a queen bee or despotic invalid, Mrs. Adams sends forth her pronouncements from a darkened room. With the blinds drawn against the harsh light of reality (a familiar image in Contemporary American Fiction)...(8).Hemingway also gives the reader a sense of feeling, the same feeling Dr. Adams was feeling when his wife was second guessing him in the story. Benson shows Mrs. Adams' attitude and the aggravation Dr. Adams felt:...And her stubborn blindness and self righteousness is given further impetus by Hemingway's device of making her aChristian Scientist. Mrs. Adams' denial of what we have just seen to be true effectively creates in the reader the same irritated frustration which causes Dr. Adams to leave the house to go hunting, slamming the door behind him (8).Throughout the story Mrs. Adams underminds Dr. Adams. This gives the reader a plain view on how Nick and his father would look to each other for piece-of-mind.Nick's father, Dr. Henry Adams, appears in 'The Doctor and the Doctor's Wife' as a kind and gentle man with patience of steel. Hemingway tells the reader of Dr. Adams' great love for hunting and fishing. He also demonstrates...

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