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The End of Something

This study guide will help you analyze the text “The End of Something” by Ernest Hemingway. We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on summary, structure, characters, setting, narrator and point of view, language, theme and message

Presentation of the text

Title: “The End of Something”
Author: Ernest Hemingway
Published in: “In Our Time” (collection)
Date of Publication: 1925
Genre: Short Story

American author and journalist Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) is considered a key figure in twentieth-century literature. He belongs to the literary current called Modernism and has won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. The short story “The End of Something” features Nick Adams, a fictional character who is partially autobiographical. The plot of the story has also been inspired by real events in the life of the author from when he was a teenager and had a relationship with a girl called Marjorie Bump.

Excerpt 

Below, you can read an excerpt from our study guide: 

Social setting

The story’s social setting explores the transformation of Hortons Bay, a former lumber town, after the collapse of the lumber industry. According to the story, the town became deserted after the mill was disassembled: “The one-story bunk houses, the eating-house, the company store, the mill offices, and the big mill itself stood deserted in the acres of sawdust that covered the swampy meadow by the shore of the bay”. Although the story does not go into too much detail, it suggests that a community’s survival depends on the industry that holds it together. 

The social setting also explores a common event, like a breakup between two people who want different things. Marjorie is happy in her relationship with Nick, while Nick no longer considers it fun: “ ‘It isn’t fun anymore’ ”. Nick appears slightly controlling and mocking at times, which might suggest that their relationship is not one of equals.

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The End of Something

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