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In Search of the Real Nick Adams: The Case for “A Very Short Story”

From: The Hemingway Review
Volume 32, Number 2, Spring 2013
pp. 28-41 | 10.1353/hem.2013.0013



This essay argues that Hemingway constructed In Our Time in a way that encourages readers to identify the unnamed protagonist of “A Very Short Story” as Nick Adams. Similarities between the story and the preceding vignette, as well as similarities between the jilted soldier’s personality and Nick’s, help to make the case. Identification of the short story’s love-devastated protagonist as Nick Adams not only fills in Nick’s life story but humanizes him and makes the evolution of his values in later stories such as “Cross-Country Snow” and “Big Two-Hearted River” more credible as well.

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