A Man’s versus a Woman’s Mind in Ernest Hemingway’s Up in Michigan

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The difference between a man’s and a woman’s mind, in Ernest Hemingway’s Up in Michigan

Many of the narrative strategies Hemingway applied to his war stories in In Our Time he had already practiced or applied in earlier stories not concerned specifically with the war. One such is “Up In Michigan”, which Hemingway had originally intended as the first story of In Our Time, but had to exclude because of its controversial presentation of sexual relationships. From his mother to his sisters to his four wives, Hemingway could not help being influenced by the strong, cultured women who surrounded him all his life.

We notice, right from the beginning of his life, that Ernest Hemingway was confronted to two opposite ways of thinking, the Manly way, and the Woman way. This will be an important point in his writing and in his personal life, he will show a great interest in this opposition of thinking. In this short story, Hemingway uses simple words, which turn out to become a complex analysis of the male and female minds. With this style of writing, he will show us how different the two sexes’ minds work, by confronting them to each other in a way that we can easily capture their different ways of working. The scene in which the characters are set in is simple, and by the use of the simplicity of the words and of the setting, he is able to put us in-front of this dilemma, he will put us in front of a situation, and we will see it in both sexes point of view, which will lead us to the fundamental question, why are our minds so different?Hemingway can be seen as a women’s man, he was attracted to women, and marriage did not prevent him from having affairs. Whatever his life was, one of the main themes in his writing remained his determination to understand the difference between the two genders. This difference always mattered in his texts, as we will see in this short story, written by Hemingway, “Up In Michigan”. In this story, Hemingway tries to tell the story in the way he thinks a woman would see and live it, during the story, he will alternate the two point of views, the man’s (Jim), and the woman’s (Liz), and he will end the story on Liz’s view.

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