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THE SOUL IN ERNEST HEMINGWAY Cecil D. Eby University of Michigan "Soul" is an unexpected word to find in the Ernest Hemingway lexicon. One might expect a writer who so deliberately trained himself to convey the outer world as revealed by the senses to distrust the instrusive abstraction of a word without specific location in space or time. How many times Hemingway used soul, and in what contexts, are questions better resolved after publication of a concordance of his work. Of concern here is his use of the word solely in connection with what Philip Young has regarded as the decisive and traumatic experience of his life, the explosion of an Austrian Minenwerfer projectile in his Fossalta dugout in July of 1918. In a breezy letter to his family two months afterward, Hemingway did not describe his sensations during the explosion, only the aftermath. The wound "didn't hurt a bit at the time, only my feet felt like I had rubber boots full of water on (hot water), and my knee cap was acting queer. The machine gun bullet just felt like a sharp smack on the leg with an icy snowball." From how he felt, the teenage Hemingway moved on to how he looked: "My coat and pants looked like someone had made currant jelly in them and then punched holes to let the pulp out." Each simile is tangible and commonplace. Nowhere in his letter is there an allusion to soul or any other supernatural phenomenon.1 It is in the short story "Now I Lay Me," written for his collection Men Without Women (1927), that Hemingway first used soul in connection with his wound. The title itself derives, of course, from a child's litany for fending off death in the night: "Now I lay me down to sleep/ I pray the Lord my soul to keep/If I should die before I wake/I pray the Lord my soul to take." The narrator, a soldier hospitalized because of his wound, explains why he does not wish to fall asleep: I myself did not want to sleep because I had been living for a long time with the knowledge that if I ever shut my eyes in the dark and let myself go, my soul would go out of my body. I had been that way for a long time, ever since I had been blown up at night and felt it go out of me and go off and then come back. I tried never to think about it, but it had started to go since, in the nights, just at the moment of going off to sleep, and I could only stop it by a very great effort.2 In his conscious mind the narrator traces this fear of soul leaving his body back as far as the traumatic impact of the wounding process, but on a subconscious level it extends farther back to the time when he recited the prayer as a child. The narrator's fears mock the false sense of security promised by the prayer, which prepares the child for either 224Notes contingency—life or death—after he falls to sleep. In Hemingway's story soul is not a separate entity apart from the body, as it is in the prayer; rather, it is only a synonym for life of the body. Much more explicit is Frederic Henry's recollection of the wounding process in A Farewell to Arms. Instead of just alluding to the effects of the trauma upon the psyche, the narrator precisely re-creates his sensations during the impact of the explosion: There was a flash, as when a blast-furnace door is swung open, and a roar that started white and went red and on and on in a rushing wind. I tried to breathe but my breath would not come and I felt myself rush bodily out of myself and out and out and out and all the time bodily in the wind. I went out swiftly, all of myself, and I knew I was dead and that it had all been a mistake to think you just died. Then I floated, and instead of going...

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