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Book Review: Up in Michigan by Ernest Hemingway

Up in Michigan by Ernest Hemingway is a short story which in it has infatuation as the central theme. Other concurrent themes support this main theme are gender typecast, unequal romance, and social inferiority.

The story starts with an introduction of a man and a city to which he comes as a new immigrant. The man is Jim Gilmore, and the city is Horton's Bay in Michigan. Jim takes a blacksmith's shop as a settlement provision and often visits Smiths for meals, especially for dinner and drinks. There aren’t many houses where he lives. So, for company he acquaintances with D.J. Smith and Charley Wyman.
Liz Coates works in the kitchen of Smiths and is considered a neat beautiful girl with noticeable neat hair in the views of Mrs. Smith. On the other hand, Jim being a blacksmith is an impressive personality having substantial semblance of manhood.

Liz, inside her heart, thinks about him, and anticipates a lot about him. In fact, she becomes a keen observer of him. Ironically, Jim sees her with neutral gusto. He is not so deep about her feelings.

When Jim and other men go for fall deer hunting. Mrs Smith prepares a lot of food for them, and that time Liz thinks of preparing a special meal for Jim but she neither has resources nor the courage to ask for anything from Mrs. Smith. This shows how inferior she feels to express his love for him before others. Also, her status of a waitress keeps her tethered.
In a sense, she had chosen to be silent but at the same time craves for a strong and romantic telepathy with Jim. She profoundly misses him when he is out for deer hunting. When the men came back, she expected something special for herself from him. However, nothing such-like event happened. Clearly, the man does not see her as something of special value, but every man wants to have a woman above all.

It happens when one evening Jim is drunk and takes her for a walk at the dock. There he plays with her body. She vapidly tries to stop him but one part of her mind and heart wanted that. Hence, she renders herself to him. After copulation, Jim falls in the realms of deadly sleep.

She loses her virginity much contrastingly to the imago and the anticipation she held about him. She tries to shake him but he gives no response. Probably too tired to her hear. She cries, being felt exploited. The night is extremely cold; hence she lays her coat over him and returns to her room to go to bed.

It is sad to note that her love hope gets crushed underneath the typecast gender discrimination. Jim showing no interest of love for her indicates that their story was romantically unequal.


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