Hemingway's Portrayal of Nicks Consolation

Essay by Parker1A, January 1995

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Webster's Dictionary defines comfort as, 'to give strength, hope to, or to console' (61). People find strength or consolation in different ways. Each person has a unique manner and need for that special thing that comforts them. Baker writes that: 'Hemingway , on several accounts, writes of a man named Nick Adams. Hemingway uses Nick throughout most of his stories. Primarily, he uses this character in about five stories that have been grouped together that critics refer to as 'The Education of Nick Adams' (129). Adams is Hemingway's character that critics believe to be his means of writing about his own life. Hemingway shows us that Nick finds his consolation in his father.

Hemingway's depiction of Mrs. Henry Adams, Nick's mother, portrays her to be an overbearing and obnoxious woman. Benson describes Mrs. Adams as: 'Nicks mother is a woman who smothers sweetly with that peculiar self righteous intensity which is born of Victorian moral certainty' (6).

Mrs. Adams constantly questions the actions of Dr. Adams and Nick. According to Jackson Benson, after the row with Dick Boulton in 'The Doctor and the Doctor's Wife,' Mrs. Adams only attempts to second guess Dr. Adams.

Instead of backing her husband up or sympathizing with him, Mrs. Adams scolds her husband and expresses the suspicion that it was Dr. Adams who caused all the trouble. Her tone effectively reduces the

doctors status to that of a little boy. Her further refusal to believe her husband after patronizingly urging him not to 'try to

keep anything from me' belittles him into a posture not only of a naughty little boy, but a sulky and not even a very trustworthy one (8).

Hemingway shows Mrs. Adams almost as an evil empress who wants control over her family. The setting around Mrs.