In Our Time

In Our Time

By Ernest Hemingway (1925)

It is not easy to appreciate the short stories in this book. For example, in one of the short stories “The End of Something”, it is about a man and his girlfriend who are reaching the end of their relationship.

In Hortons Bay, a town abandoned after the collapse of the logging industry, Nick Adams and his girlfriend, Marjorie, row a boat over to an island for a picnic. They spend most of the evening in silence. Then, Nick starts to express his reservations about their relationship. Marjorie asks him, “Isn’t love fun anymore?” to which he says, “No.” Marjorie leaves.

Before long, Bill ventures over to question him about what happened, but Nick angrily tells his friend to “go away.”

As of the above, I have just read the story very simply it is about a man and woman breaking up. I don’t find anything special or unusual in the story. However when I read the summary at wikipedia, it was actually explained there were other literacy meaning involved.

Themes (Extracted from wikipedia)

  • The town – The town that they row past during the first part of the story is described as having passed its peak years ago, and it is now very worn-out and broken-looking. No one lives there anymore. It represents the state of Nick’s and Marjorie’s relationship.


  • The fish – Marjorie, in an attempt to make conversation, comments that the fish are plentiful nearby. “But they won’t bite,” Nick replies. In this case, Nick is supposed to be a fish, and Marjorie the fisherman, trying to “lure” or “bait” Nick into marriage. However, Nick doesn’t want to get married and won’t “bite.”


  • Resolution – Despite, or maybe because of, the break-up, Nick is clearly depressed at the end of the story. He cannot escape his feeling of loss.

Though Ernest Heminway is a very good writer, but I really dont read that deeply to understand the hidden meaning involved. I still prefer his “The Old Man and the Sea” book.


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