How would you contrast Nick's relationship with his father to his relationship with his young son in "Fathers and Sons"? (It seems that there is a focus on what causes a person to be sentimental--some level of cruelty and abuse--so having been hurt makes you aware of your feelings. However, the young boy seems very sentimental.)

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

While Nick Adams drives along the highway as the day darkens, Hemingway writes that he

was all through thinking about his father.  The end of the day never made him think of him.

Nonetheless, the memory of Nick's father returns to him in the fall when he travels to hunt quail where, suddenly, as he is in a deserted orchard or field, the memory of his hunting outings with this father strike him.  At the same time, Nick recalls when he lost the rifle that his father had given him and he was whipped for losing it.  Afterwards, in his anger at being punished, Nick considered killing his father.  However, once the anger was "out of him," he felt sick about thinking such thoughts.

It seems, therefore, that Nick has ambivalent feelings about his father. Perhaps, like his father, he is both "cruel and abused" emotionally.  At any rate, the only positive emotion seems to be Nick's detached admiration for his father's eyesight and shooting skill, detached because even this admiration is somewhat negated as he tells his son, "He was always disappointed in the way I shot." However, this is the only negative statement that Nick makes when his young so asks about his grandfather. Instead, he commiserates with his son that they should, indeed, visit his father's tomb, and encourages his son in the continuation of family.  His act of fatherly love, inspired by the beauty of nature and the positive memories of his father, indicate his paternal love for his sensitive son.



See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team