An Analysis of The End of Something Essay

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An Analysis of The End of Something

One area of literature emphasized during the Modernist era was the inner struggle of every man. Novels written before the 20th century, such as Moll Flanders and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, dealt with external conflict, a conflict the reader could visualize in an action. Along with other writers of Bohemian Paris, Ernest Hemingway moved away from this process and began using outward actions as symbols for the inner conflict dwelling inside the protagonist. Hemingway's short story The End of Something is an example of how trite dialogue and simple descriptions accentuate the mental strife of the character Nick.

The story's plot is not complex: Nick and his girlfriend Marjorie are canoeing
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No one who lived in it was out of sound of the big saws in the mill by the lake." The reader is set up for a description of the town or the mill, expecting Hemingway to describe the scene as if he were driving by it on a scenic highway. But Hemingway removes the reader from his woodland fantasy in the next sentence: "Then one year there were no more logs to make lumber." The reader, whose mental rendering of the scene was just smashed like a Monty Python scene, begins reading faster, aided by Hemingway's brief-sentences description of the mill's closing. This style of choppy sentences minus vivid description continues through the first and second paragraphs, but in the third paragraph Hemingway begins describing the scene ten years later and introduces Nick and Marjorie, who are floating down the river the mill used to be on. Once again, Hemingway puts the reader in a peaceful setting and, literally, on a slow canoe float, so the reader slows down his tempo and finds himself back where he expected to be after the first two sentences.

Hemingway's third-person narration does not get in the way of Nick and Marjorie's dialogue, a device most writers would use to allow the reader to concentrate more on the complex nature of the conversation. However, the dialogue between Nick and Marjorie is quite simple. Their lines are usually one abrupt sentence (the longest sequence is Nick telling Marjorie that she knows everything, and even then his
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