13 November 2014
Baseball, War, and Romance
Both written by Ernest Hemingway, “The Three Day Blow” and “A Way You’ll Never Be” are short stories that focus on the life of Nick Adams. The two short stories center on important events that take place in Nick Adams’s life as a young man. Hemingway uses these events to show how Nick Adams’s past experiences affect him in the present. Based around baseball, war, and romance, these stories are significant by explaining how past experiences can have a lasting impact on a young man. “The Three Day Blow” and “A Way You’ll Never Know” are short stories that emphasize Nick Adams’s experiences with baseball, World War I, and Marjorie.
“The Three Day Blow” is a short story by Ernest Hemingway that describes Nick Adams’s love for the sport of baseball. At the beginning of the short story, Nick Adams and his older friend Bill Smith are in Bill's family cottage in Michigan, and they are enjoying their time drinking liquor and talking about sports, especially baseball (McSweeney 1). Nick and Bill mention the trade of Heinie Zimmerman from the Chicago Cubs to the New York Giants, which takes place in 1916 before the American entrance into World War I (Flora 2). Hemingway uses the baseball references in “The Three Day Blow” to show a timeline of events in that happen in 1916 (Hurley 45). The references include Nick and Bill’s mention of John McGraw's recent acquisition of Heinie Zimmerman, transacted on Monday, August 28, 1916 (Hurley 45). As a result of Hemingway’s references to baseball, he enables his readers to establish the precise date of the story (Hurley 47). In addition, Hemingway also encourages his readers to reconstruct external events that happen in baseball from the time of the Heinie Zimmerman trade on Monday, August 28, 1916, until the conclusion of the three-day blow on Saturday, September 30, 1916, a date that coincides with the end of the Giants' winning streak (Hurley 47). Hemingway uses his baseball allusions to read logically as factual occurrences in a single, historical baseball fall season in 1916 (Hurley 45). By using the discussion about baseball between Nick Adams and Bill Smith in “The Three Day Blow,” Hemingway is able to establish a correct timeline of events that takes places in the lives of the two men.
In “A Way You’ll Never Know,” Hemingway focuses on the concept of war as it relates to the life of Nick Adams. As the story begins, Nick revisits the site of fighting in World War I to try and make a contribution to the Allied forces (Flora 4). Nick Adams is wounded on the Italian front during World War I, but he comes back to the site of fighting to prove his worth and manhood (Flora 4). As Nick is riding his bicycle across the site of recent battle, he sees dead soldiers with their personal items, and he does not even recognize how surreal the situation is to him (Flora 4). Hemingway lets the imagery of Nick riding his bicycle across the terrible war zone describe the division between Nick's preconceptions about war and himself and what he actually discovers in battle (Flora 4). In his extended hallucination in "A Way You'll Never Be," Nick's remembers incidents that happen to him while he was battling in Italy during World War I (Hannum 4). Nick finally verbalizes his past experiences that he does not like to remember from war while he is fishing in Michigan (Flora 5). Nick faces his own fears and uncertainness about his life by discussing his war experiences with others (Flora 7). Even though he is able to speak about his wounding during the war, Nick comes extremely close to a mental collapse during the short story (Hannum 7).Hemingway uses “A Way You’ll Never Be” to explain the psychological consequences of Nick being wounded in combat (McSweeney 1). By focusing on the war experiences in “A Way You’ll Never Be,” Hemingway shows how the war has affected the present for Nick Adams.
In addition to discussing...
Cited: Flora, Joseph M. "Nick Adams in Italy." Hemingway 's Italy: New Perspectives. Ed. Joseph M. Flora and by Rena Sanderson. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2006. 185- 200. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism. Ed. Jelena O. Krstovic. Vol. 117. Detroit: Gale, 2009. Literature Resource Center. Web. 10 Nov. 2014.
Hannum, Howard L. " 'Scared sick looking at it ': A Reading of Nick Adams in the Published Stories." Twentieth-Century Literature 47.1 (Spring 2001): 92-113. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism. Ed. Jelena O. Krstovic. Vol. 117. Detroit: Gale, 2009. Literature Resource Center. Web. 10 Nov. 2014.
Hurley, C. Harold. "Baseball In Hemingway 's "The Three-Day Blow": The Way It Really Was In The Fall Of 1916." Hemingway Review 16.1 (1996): 43-55. Academic Search Premier. Web. 10 Nov. 2014.
McSweeney, Kerry. "Affects in Hemingway 's Nick Adams Sequence." The Realist Short Story of the Powerful Glimpse: Chekhov to Carver. Columbia: The University of South Carolina Press, 2007. 56-73. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism. Ed. Jelena O. Krstovic. Vol. 117. Detroit: Gale, 2009. Literature Resource Center. Web. 10 Nov. 2014.
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