Nick Adams as Code Hero of in Our Time

Topics: Indian Camp, Ernest Hemingway, Nick Adams Pages: 5 (1969 words) Published: May 8, 2011
Ernest Hemingway is noted for having made many contributions to the literary world and one of his most notorious contributions is the Code Hero. The birth and growth of the Code Hero can be easily observed simply by watching the growth and development of Nick Adams throughout Hemingway's writing. In Our Time contains a various assortment of Nick Adam stories at various stages of his life and also shows the Code Hero at various stages of its development. In Our Time was the second book Hemingway had published. His first contained only three short stories and ten poems and had little to do with the Code Hero, making In Our Time the first time Hemingway revealed the Code Hero to the rest of the world. The technique and characterization contained in In Our Time is consistent with most of Hemingway's later writings, setting up In Our Time as a model of Hemingway's style and the Code Hero

According to Professor Paul Totah of St. Ignatius, Hemingway defined the Code Hero as "a man who lives correctly, following the ideals of honor, courage and endurance in a world that is sometimes chaotic, often stressful, and always painful." The Code Hero measures himself by how well they handle the difficult situations that life throws at him. In the end the Code Hero will lose because we are all mortal, but the true measure is how a person faces death. The Code Hero is typically an individualist and free-willed. Although he believes in the ideals of courage and honor he has his own set of morals and principles based on his beliefs in honor, courage and endurance. Qualities such as bravery, adventuresome and travel also define the Code Hero. A final trait of the Code Hero is his dislike of the dark. It symbolizes death and is a source of fear for him. The rite of manhood for the Code Hero is facing death. However, once he faces death bravely and becomes a man he must continue the struggle and constantly prove himself to retain his manhood (Totah).

The Code Hero is present in the majority of Hemingway's novels. Even the young man in Hills Like White Elephants contained many of the characteristics of the Code Hero such as free-willed, individualist, and travel. The individualism comes out in his desire to not have a child. It would solidify the group aspect of a family between him and the lady. The travel trait is obvious by the mention of the stickers on the luggage denoting the many places they had been. His free will comes out also in his desire not to be a father. If he were a father he would have to begin making decisions for his child and family, not just for himself.

The first Nick Adam story, Indian Camp shows Nick as a young boy and also shows Nick as he experiences the main characteristic of the Code Hero, facing death bravely. Nick's witnessing of the Indian's suicide introduces him to death for the first time. Instead of being frightened or sickened by the experience, Nick stays strong and asks his father questions about it instead. The fear of darkness is also touched upon in Indian Camp. When Nick first goes to the camp it is dark and he sits in the boat with his father's arm around him, providing a sense of security. When Nick leaves the camp it is light outside. Nick runs his hand through the water, which is described as warm and provides the sense of security that his father had to provide during the night. The light shining on the water and warmth that Nick feels is also mentioned along with Nick's thought that he would never die. Nick draws strength and sanctuary from the morning as opposed to the night before. Nick's feeling that he would never die shows this as an early stage in his development into a Code Hero. He has not accepted the inevitability of death, yet.

The Doctor and the Doctor's Wife also shows Nick developing into the Code Hero, although in a very subtle way. Nick is only involved in the end of the story but the few sentences that Hemingway writes about him are enough to show development. Nick...
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