Hemingway The Big Two Hearted River

853 Words4 Pages
Digging Deep “The Big Two-Hearted River” by Earnest Hemingway is one of the greatest short stories in American Modernism. Hemingway creates a hidden division between the textual and idea level. The story textually does not share a thrilling plot. The use of a simple plot line creates the illusion that the story has a dull aspect. However, the further you dig into the story the more thrilling it becomes. Through a hidden theme based on World War I and the connection between nature and the individual, Hemingway’s story transforms. The plot of “The Big Two-Hearted River” simply consist of the character Nick Adams and his experience camping. Throughout the story, the uniqueness of the plot appears to be average. There are not any loopholes in the story or thrilling events. Essentially nothing happens. Due to this absence, the story appears worthless. Hemingway’s story has more to offer than the plot suggests. From the beginning of the story, the reader senses that there is something missing. There is a sense that a piece of background information is missing. From the first paragraph Hemingway describes the ruins of a destroyed town: “There was no town, nothing but the rails and the burnt over country” (980). Why is the town burnt? Why does it no longer exist? Something destroyed the town that made Nick want to leave. Hemingway does not directly state that the short story is a reflection of World War I, but war is a hidden theme. During this time, many cities and town were destroyed because of warfare. Hemingway is reflecting on these destroyed cities within this story. The theme of war reshapes the story. Hemingway creates a separation between the calm and fast-paced scenes of nature. This separation is symbolized between the land and the water. On the land, the environment is serine and calming. However, beneath the water the pace quickens. This is seen as a
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