What are the main examples of symbolism in "The End of Something" by Ernest Hemingway?

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mlsldy3 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "The End of Something," we see two teenagers, Nick and Marjorie, as they are headed out in a row boat. The story takes place in Horton's Bay in Michigan. Horton's Bay was once a logging and mill town. It was active and exciting. There was always something going on. When the mill town closed up, the whole town grew old and stale. 

Nick and Marjorie have been dating for a while. They are going to go fishing and have a night together. The first symbol we see is that the fish aren't biting. Marjorie makes the statement that the fish are there, and Nick comments, they just aren't biting. This symbolizes Nick. He is finding a lack of interest in their relationship. The ruins of the old mill town are a symbol, as well. They symbolize that things are coming to an end. Nick tells Marjorie that it just isn't any fun anymore. Marjorie realizes he is talking about their relationship. She is stoic and gets up and leaves in the row boat. Nick's friend, Bill, is there and comes into the picture after Marjorie leaves. It appears that Nick had discussed this with Bill, because Bill asks him how it went. 

"The End of Something" is a short story published in 1925 as part of a collection of short stories in the book In Our Time. "The End of Something" has many symbols. The ruins of the old mill town and the fish not biting are just a couple of symbols. The story comes to an end with Nick still feeling dissatisfied even after he ended things with Marjorie. We are just not sure what it is the end to. 

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The End of Something

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