How “A Moveable Feast” Helps to Explain Aspects of “Big Two-Hearted River”

How “A Moveable Feast” Helps to Explain Aspects of “Big Two-Hearted River”

Hemingway wrote several fiction stories that portrayed different aspects of life. Gaining an understanding of these stories might not be straight forward for every reader. Some aspects seem obvious while others are not outright. Individuals with prior knowledge of his other works find it easy to understand his fiction stories. The following write-up will explore how “A Moveable Feast” helps to explain certain aspects of “Big Two-Hearted River”.

From “A Movable Feast” it is apparent that Hemingway was a war veteran. This is evidenced in chapter 2 when his wife tries to query him regarding his spending habits. “You have to buy the people of your own age- of your own military service group”. There is also evidence of this in chapter 3 when Miss Stein tells Hemingway “All of you young people who served in the war. You are a lost generation”. The aspect of being a war veteran helps explain some aspects of Nick’s persona in “Big Two-Hearted River”. The way Nick approaches the camping adventure does not resemble a mere individual who is doing it just for fun. It gives an indication of someone that has been conducting the activity for a long period. The way he sets up the tents, starts the fire and approaches the entire cooking process gives a demonstration of sophistication. It is all done in a simple manner but turns out successful without any form of failure whatsoever.

The aspect of being a soldier also helps explain Nick’s action with regards to the grasshopper. Reading the Big-Two Hearted River seemed somewhat confusing on his actions towards the grasshoppers that had turned black as a result of fire burning the area.  This is because Nick is represented as a masculine character and hence one would not expect him to act softly towards such creatures. He is the type of person that you would expect to crush them on sight based on the way he is conducting the other activities. However, A Movable Feast helps understand this action based on the fact that Hemingway used to serve in the military. Saving the grasshopper from its miseries seemed similar to the way the service men act to protect their own during the war. Service men don’t leave their own regardless of the situation or their condition. Nick tries to extend such actions towards the grasshopper, which seems overwhelmed by the current conditions.

A Moveable Feast also helps in understanding how life has changed in Paris over time. Hemingway at one point held the view that “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast”. This explains why Nick takes the trip to go camping and fishing after he returns home. The place does not seem the same. A lot of things are out of order, and he needs some destruction from the reality. Kennedy (206) postulates that composition of the “Big Two-Hearted River” was an indication of Hemingway fantasizing about leaving Paris and the expatriate literary life. He was not ready to get accustomed to the changes that took place. Getting out of the region would be a convenient way of getting to terms with the current situation.

Another aspect of Big Two-Hearted River that is made clear by A Moveable Feast is Nick’s thoughts while making coffee. He remembered the argument with Hopkins with regards on how to prepare coffee. It appeared that he argued about almost everything with Hopkins. This aspect seemed confusing at first based on how Nick had been portrayed throughout the story. He seemed cool, calm and collected; not someone you would expect to keep arguing with other people often. Nick had been portrayed as a reserved individual that would be willing to let things slip for the sake of having the peace of mind. However, that is not the case. A Moveable Feast helps us gain insight into Hemingway’s character that is not vividly elaborated in his persona as Nick.  It indicates that Hemingway had the tendency of being argumentative. There are several occasions where he argues with his wife; more so on issues to do with spending. In chapter six, Hadley acknowledges that “we all three argued about everything and always specific things and we made fun of each other”. She was referring to Chink, Hemingway and herself. This helps elaborate Nick’s thoughts of being argumentative in “Big Two-Hearted River” yet he did not seem that way.


Works Cited

Hemingway, Ernest. A Moveable Feast. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1964. Print.

Kennedy, J. Gerald. “Hemingway, Hadley, and Paris:The Persistence of Desire.” The Cambridge Companion to Hemingway (1996): 197-220. Print.

Do you need an Original High Quality Academic Custom Essay?