Critical Essays The Nada Concept


Aside from death being a part of the concept of the code hero, there are certain images that are often connected with this view. His actions are often identified by certain definite movements or performances. He is often called a restless man. By restless is meant that he will often stay awake at nighttime and sleep all during the day. The reason for this is that for the Hemingway man sleep itself is a type of obliteration of the consciousness. Night is a difficult time for the Hemingway hero or code hero because night itself — the darkness of night — implies, suggests, or symbolizes the utter darkness that man will have to face after death. Therefore the code hero will avoid nighttime. This will be the time he will drink; this will be the time he will carouse or stay awake. In many novels he will spend the night making love with someone and only at the crack of dawn will he then desire sleep.

In A Farewell to Arms, Frederick Henry stays awake all night so as to be with Catherine Barkley, who is on the night shift. Catherine Barkley is on the night shift so that they will not have to sleep during the night; they can make love during the night, or talk. They can do anything to avoid the combination of darkness and sleep. In short stories such as "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" the emphasis is upon light. The Hemingway code character, if he goes to sleep at night, will often leave a light on. He does not like the darkness of the room, the darkness of the night, the state of sleeping, because these are in themselves suggestive of that final sleep of death.