Considering that most of Hemingway's lead characters happen to be single males (and not females) driven by a zest for masochism (Waldhorn 52) in that they are compelled to act graciously under duress and pain, Nick Adams does not disappoint with his poignant transition from child to adolescent to soldier, veteran, writer and parent; mirroring various shades of Hemingway's life in a way none of his other writings could. Released in abridged format as part of the writer's 20's-30's series of short stories In Our Time, Nick is today remembered by Hemingway fans as his unblemished alter ego who managed to learn the ropes in different aspects of life.
It's significant to note that Nick's continual of Hemingway's passion for self-learning offers a great respite of hope for readers who identify with the writer's enigmatic reverence for optimism and cheer. Written in 1926, In Another Country is a gripping tale of aspirations, individual merit and other "heroic" (Meyers 90) attributes that define Hemingway's portrayal of his lead characters.
In this essay, an attempt has been made to understand the critical points at which Nick's character overlaps with Hemingway's own nostalgic moments; in doing so, the focus is on capturing multiple dimensions of the character for comparisons with the writer's own trysts with different shades of life.
Hemingway's first inspiration to write In the Country came from a TS Eliot quote in his poem The Portrait of a Lady derived from Christopher Marlowe's (Elizabethan) The Jew of Malta, which offers scope to understand his state of mind when designing this plot.
"Thou hast committed fornication, but that was in another country" (Tyler 74)
Fornication referred to sex outside of marriage. Since the story of In Another Country was played out in a war theater, outside the protagonist's country (Milan, Italy), it bears a close resemblance to Hemingway's own sequence of events in life during that tumultuous period (Tyler 74). His first wife, Hadley had left him by then which led him to have promiscuous affairs (a less mentioned, but well-known attribute of the famous writer).
The story's heroine, Catherine who had an adulterous affair with Nick Adams, died in the end leaving Nick, surly and contemptuous. Indeed, the transition from a bold adventurer to an insignificant recluse, is the striking theme of In the Country (Benson 88). Even the most nave reader could bridge the connections between the parallel events that shaped Hemingway's basic ideas in inventing the theme.
Another coincidence is Nick's presence in a war zone outside Milan, Italy which was based on Hemingway's own experiences as a Red Cross volunteer in Italy during World War I. Even the opening hospital scene with tragic visuals of the wounded