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Ernest Hemingway’s short story “Now I Lay Me” is another Nick Adams story. This one is set during the war. During the night, Nick attempts to keep himself awake for fear the dark will take his soul. I read this story for Week 41 of my Deal Me In 2014 project. My Deal Me In 2014 list can be seen here. DMI is sponsored by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.
Through the night, Nick wanders in his mind from subject to subject. First, he thinks about fishing trips, both real and imagined. Next, he determines to pray for everyone he knows. He remembers his grandfather’s attic and what seems to be a disagreement between his parents in regard to the attic’s contents. As he realizes his roommate is awake, he talks to him for a while until his friend dozes off. His friend gives him the idea of thinking about all of the girls he has known and what kind of wives they would make, along with the advice that Nick needs to find a wife.
From all of these mind travels, I get the distinct impression that Nick wasn’t just trying to find reasons to stay awake but trying to find a purpose to life. I think it’s telling that he revisits one of these topics. It’s not prayer, family or marriage.
When I think about humorous writers, I don’t think of Hemingway. It’s hard for me to imagine him cracking up the audience down at “The Funny Bone”. But while reading this story, I couldn’t help but think of Brad Paisley’s funny little tune I’m Gonna Miss Her (The Fishin’ Song).