The Hemmingway Code: An Analysis Of The Hemingway Hero Code In Major Hemingway Short Stories.

1136 words - 5 pages

"Our nada who art in nada, nada be thy name, thy kingdom nada thy will be nada in nada as it is in nada." (Hemingway 32) Hemingway's hero is one of strong substance, and one that understands basic concepts including that of Nada. He (they are always male) realizes that he is the victim of an anarchistic universe. He does not have faith. He does not think about chance, luck, or happenstance, but rather lives as he breathes. He is born of the Parisian expatriates; he lives materialistically and feeds on "sinful" pleasures. We see these qualities in the disturbingly similar Hemingway stories. Nick Adams, our war veteran from "The Big Two Hearted Rive"r, the sadistic, dying husband from "The Snows of Kilimanjaro", the despairing old man in "A Clean Well Lighted Place", and the crippled ex-sportsman major in "A Way You'll Never Be". There are a few rules which rigidly enforce the Code. Our hero will have been the victim of unjustified injury; he will realize that no God watches over him, and finally he will be strong sportsman.Our hero will be hurt. In one way or another, our hero will have, or will over the course of the story sustain serious physical injury. This is vitally important because it helps the character to realize that the universe is not ruled by any sort of principle or law, that injuries and death occur gratuitously and often. In the case of Nick Adams, it is the head injury which haunts him so dangerously. "'I suppose what I did was forget to put iodine on it when I first scratched it.'" (Hemingway 6) In this story, the hero, a male war veteran, is vacationing with his wife when he scratches his leg. Gangrene follows and reduces him to a cot while the infection spreads. Eventually, he dies. Here is a classic example of a thoroughly superfluous injury and death. "'You should have killed yourself last week' he said to the deaf man." (Hemingway 30) Even the old man is deaf, and was not so all his life, because he can speak. Some cruel mishap befell the old man, and his despair is more than apparent, not only from his suicide attempt, but from his shaking hand on his glass. Nick Adams, too, has his physical injuries to cope with. "'I said it should have been trepanned. I'm no doctor but I know that.'" (Hemingway 86) Especially he, the hero of so many Hemingway stories suffers from both mental and physical injury. "She had been sick only a few days. No one expected her to die. The major did not come to the hospital for three days." (Hemingway 70) Untimely death surrounds our hero's, compounding the Major's suffering, and intensifying his heroism. Maybe it is a sign of masculinity, maybe it is a tool for guiding these heroes towards ultimately atheistic views, however, each and every hero sustains injury.Our hero will greatly fear the unknown. He will realize that the universe is not guided by any moral or ethical law, but left to run itself. This chaos and confusion scares the heroes. This is what the darkness represents, the chaos, the...

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