What is Marjorie actually fishing for in "The End of Something"?

Expert Answers

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

At the beginning of "The End of Something," Nick and Marjorie are fishing for trout and perch. Marjorie is intent on the fishing rod. Hemingway tells the reader, "She loved to fish. She loved to fish with Nick."

Later, when they are skinning and gutting the fish, Marjorie...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

At the beginning of "The End of Something," Nick and Marjorie are fishing for trout and perch. Marjorie is intent on the fishing rod. Hemingway tells the reader, "She loved to fish. She loved to fish with Nick."

Later, when they are skinning and gutting the fish, Marjorie asks Nick what has been bothering him, since clearly something has. Here, she is metaphorically fishing for an explanation. The fish she lands is not what she had hoped. Nick initially prevaricates and says he doesn't know what the matter is. Finally he says, "It isn't fun any more." Marjorie takes this to mean that their relationship is over.

They leave the point separately, Nick on foot, Marjorie by boat. The enquiries of Nick's friend Bill at the end of the story reveal that Nick had been planning this break-up. Perhaps he should be regarded as the fisherman and she as the fish that took the bait of his moody silences and obvious dissatisfaction.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team