Physical setting

The short story “Up in Michigan” by Ernest Hemingwayis set in Horton Bay, Michigan, US, a real geographical place where Hemingway spent much of his adolescence.

The fact that the town is still small and does not seem very industrialized suggests that the story does not take place in modern times. More specifically, the ref…


Social setting

In the story, the two women—Mrs. Smith and Liz—engage in stereotypically feminine activities. They tend to the house, cook, and serve food. Furthermore, Liz is described as “the neatest girl” (l. 7), something which suggests that women were expected to be attractive and orderly. Liz is a serving girl, which suggests more generally that women are expected to be subservient to men in the world of the story. When Liz wants to take initiative and cook for Jim, she quickly gives up on the idea. In the same way, she ends up having no say in what Jim does to her (he rapes her despite her telling him to stop).

The men…

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