Aspects of Initiation in Hemingway′s Short Fiction.
This paper will be concerned with the question whether - and if so, why - Hemingway′s Nick Adams stories can be regarded as stories of initiation. As the above citation shows, the possibility of reading Hemingway′s short fiction as stories of initiation is supported in literary theory. There are, however, some controversies on this topic, which can be seen in the essay "What is an Initiation Story?" by Mordecai Marcus (1976), for example. .
The following report will deal with three selected short stories by Ernest Hemingway focussing on the protagonist Nick Adams, namely ,,Indian Camp", ,,The Battler" and ,,Fathers and Sons". These stories have been selected due to the fact that they give a representative overlook on different chapters of life of the protagonist, which are childhood, adolescence and maturity. Therefore, they are suitable for investigation of constituents and characteristics of stories of initiation. Furthermore, their different topics as well as arrangements offer a broad range of material for investigation. .
As the analysis will focus on the definition of stories of initiation and the appliance of these criteria on Hemingway′s short fiction, other aspects of interpretation (e.g. the often mentioned autobiographical content or stylistic devices which are characteristic for Hemingway′s iceberg-principle) have to be neglected. They should, however, be kept in mind as they are important constituents of Hemingway′s work.
2. What is a `story of initiation′? .
In general, one can say that there is no single precise and universally applicable definition of stories of initiation in literary theory. This is mainly due to the fact that many theorists (as well as fiction authors) made statements about the character of the initiation-story only as a kind of by-product while analyzing specific examples of the genre.