Theme and message

War trauma

In “Now I Lay Me” by Ernest Hemingway, the theme of war trauma is explored in connection to both Nick Adams’ and John’s experiences as soldiers. Both men have clearly been affected by the war. John regrets joining the military (p. 280, ll. 20-21) and has difficulty sleeping (p. 279, l. 25), while Nick Adams experiences a long period in which he struggles to stay awake, convinced that he would die in his sleep after being “blown up at night” (p. 276, l. 7). At one point in the story, Nick also briefly implies that he witnessed people being burned (p. 278, ll. 4-5), suggesting that he was traumatised by an attack and by the sight of soldiers being wounded or killed in explosions. These details could indicate that Nick suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which affects many soldiers who engage in combat. Moreover, Nick has also been wounded repeatedly (p. 281, ll. 16-17), which draws attention to the physical dangers of being at war.

The story also illustrates the differen...

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