Big Two Hearted River by Earnest Hemmingway: Nick’s Rejuvenation
War is a terrible thing and leaves behind horrible marks. Nick returns from World War 1 to find Seney, Michigan ravaged by it. Without clearly referring to his ordeals in the war, Hemmingway presents a scene which indicates that the war has just been over. Nick seems to be ill with PTSD and he is planning to recover from his traumatic experiences by rejuvenating in the nature.
He gets busy and happy like a child and keeps himself away from the traumatic memories of war. The nature is like a mother and protects Nick from the bloody and terrifying memories of war. He is away from the society and far from any rush or violence. The reaction begins right when Nick leaves the society behind to enter nature. The noises of war are replaced by the music of nature. However, the grasshoppers and the trout also reminding him of his own society. The story is also filled with important symbols like the trout, grasshoppers, the log and the marsh. The trout are like a prize that nature offers and represent the wealth and happiness found in nature. The black grasshoppers represent the destruction caused by war and how things change with it. People and animals start adapting to their changed surroundings. Nick is afraid to enter the marsh which represents the battlefield. It can reignite those terrifying memories related to the Warfield. The dead log again reminds of a carcass from the battlefield. Still, the best thing is that nature has retained most of its bliss and harmony unlike the human society that is engaged in war and slaughter. Society is full of things that make people like Nick lose their mental peace.
Hemmingway also compares the freedom offered by the nature with the issues human society is held captive by. He shows how distant society has grown from its true nature and some day will have to return to it to regain its hold. Far from the war, Hemmingway takes the readers on a pleasant journey into the nature where someone can pause and enjoy the refreshing calm. Hemmingway’s work holds deeper meaning which is not just about war but everything that the human society has created and which is against real human nature. The work also makes readers think deeply over the things like politics and war which after all have annihilated human peace. It is the ordinary citizen who is getting to bear the burnt of all the social chaos and disorder. Basically, he is referring to this disorder which is against nature and if anyone wants true order then he needs to get back to nature. The pleasure offered by nature is unequalled and towards the end of the story Nick is happily busy fishing and cleaning the trout, with hardly any signs of trauma but only his solitary business and a new life with nature.