Forces of Habit: Coping Mechanisms in Hemingway's Veterans

Natalie Stigall


As veterans of WWI, Hemingway’s fictional characters no doubt endured severe physical torture; the stories of Jake Barnes of The Sun Also Rises, Frederic Henry of A Farewell to Arms, and Nick Adams of various short stories all make explicit reference to physical wounds these heroes have suffered in war. And the intangible psychological wounds Hemingway’s veterans endure – most notably shell shock – have been widely discussed in academic discourse. However, the physical manifestations of these characters’ psychological traumas have yet to be fully explored. Utilizing a combination of trauma and literary theory, as well as contemporary studies of neurosis in WWI veterans, it is possible to identify in Hemingway’s characters the physical expression of these veterans’ psychological trauma, on the surface repressed through a combination of the characters’ and author’s suppression.



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