A Way You Ll Never Be By Ernest Hemingway

Decent Essays
How does Ernest Hemingway develop the theme of self-governance in the short story A Way You’ll Never Be? In search of autonomy, one must fight for survival and rule of one’s mind. This is evident in the case of Nick Adams. Throughout the story A Way You’ll Never Be Nick struggles to regain control of and to rediscover his identity. Through Hemingway’s use of flashback, free indirect discourse, stream of consciousness and other figures of speech, he explores the ideas of self-governance and identity as well as the effects of not having either. Hemingway, to illustrate the theme of sovereignty, uses the character of Nick Adams. Nick is a character who has been injured in the war and, though his wound has healed over, Nick has yet to recover mentally from the attack. Hemingway’s portrayal of Nick is of a man who is trying to regain his identity. Hemingway depicts this through stream of consciousness and symbolism. The stream of…show more content…
Throughout the story, Nick’s rants are a loss of control that “he [can feel] coming on” (410) however the rants bring him a certain clarity. Without those opportunities, Nick is just a shell-shocked man with shrapnel fragments in his skull (407). That shell-shock is most prominently shown when Nick is leaving the dugout because his memories of his time there are swamping his mind and weakening his control on the outbursts. Nick is retrieving his bicycle, which is a symbol for youth and the way that he was as well as another symbol for his loss of identity. While he is getting his bicycle, he has another flashback. That flashback however is disjointed, making it seem as though he is between realities. Again, this links back to Nick’s struggle for control over his mind and identity even though in this case he’s not succeeding. Therefore one might be left with this message: One must either govern or be governed, both mentally and physically, in the fight for
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