The End of Something Analysis of Nick

Prompt: Nick is a typical, male chauvinistic jerk in “T. E. O. S. ” Ernest Hemingway established a tough guy figure with great male chauvinist in the short story The End of Something using parallels and masculine egoism. Nick as the main character in the story casually broke up with his girlfriend over some seemingly unimportant matters during their fishing trip. Nick’s attitude towards Marjorie’s responses regarding fishing skills showed that he is highly uncomfortable with her knowledge on the same level as his.

Nick’s masculinity was disappointed by this changing of dominance, and caused him to break up with Marjorie eventually. As a typical Hemingway short story, T. E. O. S. also uses the Iceberg theory, which indicates that the first paragraph was more than a background; it was paralleling the village’s changes with Nick’s dominance degradation. The short story T. O. E . S. starts with an introduction of how the Hortons Bay went from a lumber town to mill ruins.

Hemingway cleverly parallels the relationship between Nick and Marjorie with the original Hortons Bay with the place that the woods were shipped to (and the wood being all the fishing skills that Nick taught Marjorie). The decay of Hortons Bay was a symbol of Nick’s decline of dominance in this relationship with his girlfriend. The declination of superiority in the relationship made Nick uncomfortable and less masculine. “Its open hold covered with canvas and lashed tight, the sails of the schooner filled and it moved out into the open lake, carrying with it everything that had made the mill a mill and Hortons Bay a town. (Hemingway, page 29) The last sentence in the first paragraph of the story indicates that Nick didn’t feel the same in the relationship with Marjorie as how he did before, with all the “wood” being shipped away and the contrast between how it is know and how it was before. While at the last part of the story, Nick repeated the same content “you know everything” for several times. The use of repetition implies that Nick is upset with the fact that Marjorie now grasps the all the knowledge of fishing that Nick once taught her and is now on the same level as him.

Hemingway portrayed this tough guy figure, Nick, with high self-egoism, so when Nick found out that he was gradually losing superiority to his girlfriend and eventually they became equals, he got frustrated and annoyed. It can be told from the scenes where Nick and Marjorie were fishing, they argued on little aspects regarding whether the fish would strike, how to bait should be dealt with and where to drop and Nick would argue to prove that he is the more experienced and fights to reassure his dominance. ‘You know everything’ said Nick ”,“‘I can’t help it. ’ said Nick, ‘You do. You know everything. That’s the trouble. You know you do. ’ ”,“I’ve taught you everything. You know you do. What don’t you know, anyway? ”(Hemingway, page 34) The failure of establishing himself as a dominating male in this relationship caused Nick’s final breakdown as he started to accuse Marjorie for knowing everything. Hemingway depicted the scene of Nick and his girlfriend Marjorie breaking up over a fishing trip to demonstrate a masculine dominated concept in Nick.

The writer portrayed Nick’s frustration over losing the superiority to his girlfriend, as she became just as good a fisher as himself, so as to demonstrate that Nick is a typical male chauvinist who does not accept being equal to a woman. Hemingway paralleled Hortons Bay with Nick and Marjorie’s relationship and used repetition in the end to demonstrate Nick’s frustration, while both strategies helped to establish Nick as the tough guy figure.

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