Hemingway's Nada. The philosophy of Hemingway's litterature and how he views Nada

Essay by BroncheHigh School, 12th gradeA+, January 1996

download word file, 3 pages 3.0

Downloaded 62 times

In 'The light of the world' written by Ernest Hemingway

Steve Ketchel, a boxer

symbolizes a Jesus figure for a woman called Alice. Alice, a 350

pound, unpleasant prostitute struggles with her current life. Her

central being focuses at the belief that she had a sexual

relationship with Steve Ketchel. This wishful illusion arises

from a complex she has because of her ugly and unpleasant

appearance. Nick Adams, the main Hemingway character, believes

that Alice, although she has really given up her life, still has

the chance to change and live a happy life. Steven K. Hoffman

would call this belief Alice has 'nada'.

Nada is a term used in Hemingways story 'A clean well

lighted place'. Steven K. Hoffman interpreted the word in an

Essay he wrote. The word nada translated to English, basically

means 'nothing'. But further it means much more than the simple

word nothing.

Nada from the point of Alice's view means that there is nothing

behind of her belief.

That means that her life is not based on a

concrete belief. She does not believe in any religion; her

religion is Ketchel. That arises from her place in society. In

society she is ranked very low. A prostitute has nothing to say

in our society. And since she is that low she cant set her goals

higher. Her goals could be the goals Jesus talks about. Her goal

in life was and still is to sleep with more and more guys. Back

to nada it means that she has nothing; nothing to believe in and

nothing to live for.

Alice lives in an illusion. It seems that she suppresses the

fact that she is a fat prostitute. How much lower can you get?

She suppresses her problems with her dreams and illusions. The

most important belief is that she had a sexual relationship with

Ketchel. That is her main belief. For a normal American, Jesus

would the most important belief. Ketchel gives her the strength

to withstand her complexes. Ketchel in other words symbolizes

Jesus. That is of course very sad. When comparing Jesus with

Ketchel, you will not find any connecting. Ketchel is just a

popular boxer among her friends and she knows nothing more of

him. For her Ketchel is more than just a man to have sex with. As

said, for her Ketchel is Jesus. 'There was never a man like

that.', said Alice.

Alice did not succeed in her life. Not that it is over, but

till now she did not make herself happy. She is unhappy, she is a

prostitute and the most important; she has no belief. Her belief

is as stated above Ketchel. As it seems she does not want to

change. 'Leave me with my memories ... With my true, wonderful

memories.' Notice how she insist that her memories are true. She

is living a lie.

The only person who seems to see Alice in a different way is

Nick Adams. Nick Adams is found in most of the Hemingway stories.

What I conclude then is that Nick represents Hemingway in each

story. Further this could mean that Hemingway himself found that

a person like Alice still has the potential to change. Nick saw

Alice as a nice person of her own. Not like the others see her.

They see her as a fat whore. They don't see the good sides, but

stop looking when they see her appearance. Nick on the other hand

sees Alice as a attractive girl, not in the sense of having sex.

That is probably what Alice wanted from Steve. She wants somebody

who respects her. Ketchel is a illusion, but Nick is not. He is

real and could be a real memory. This way she could change and

therefor change her belief.

In conclusion I see that Hemingway offers a solution to

Alice. Nick Adams is the embodiment of Hemingway. If Alice would

join a real Ketchel, such as Nick she would rehabilitate and

become a happy human being. Then she could believe in something

more intelligent, such as the real Jesus figure. Since a boxer is

not the kind of person to take as a belief.