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Book Review: The End of Something by Ernest Hemingway

The End of Something is a short story by Ernest Hemingway set against the familiar backdrop: Hortons Bay in Michigan. Once Hortons Bay was a mill town and then logging occupation was at full sway; then the town was chirpy and lively; but when the mill disappeared and logging faded out, only remained a few vestiges of the past such as lime stones of the once-existed mill. There is no fun anymore. With time, things of interest and occupation have been changed or gone like a smooth rite of passage.

One evening two teenagers Nick and Marjorie go boating there for fishing. They are in relationship. Their efforts to catch trout fish fails miserably. To spend the night together they build a driftwood fire.

Nick shows that he is frustrated due to failed fishing. On the other hand, Marjorie is trying to be over romantic by comparing the vestiges of the mill with a palace. This absurd comparison frustrates Nick and he shows it loudly. He grows sullen and a bit like a bull.

Nick is seeking fun and adventure in his life. And as a matter of fact, the relationship does not give him any more thrill or fun. So, he says reiterates that there is no fun left in the place and in his life. His sullen mood indicates the girl and she goes back oaring her boat at night. When Nick offers to push her boat, she refuses defiantly. She got that the relationship is over.

Nick remains there along the driftwood fire and as soon as the girl leaves his friend Bill appears from the fields to ask him about the process of break-up. Was it smooth or rough?

Nick says it was easy, no complications. Though Nick feels bad upon severing the relationship but he feels helpless. The breaking of the relationship was premeditated.

In this story Hemingway has talked about ending, like the end of the mill, the end of a profession of logging, and a relationship. In most of his short stories he brings death as an ending object but this time he subtly brings forth the ending of three things. By showing ending probably he wants to reinforce the truth that in nature, be it human or machine or profession, nothing lasts permanent.


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