Critical Discussion

On the surface, nothing much happens in this tale. Its meaning requires the reader to know that Nick is a wounded war veteran, damaged by the fire of combat he has seen. Like the fish and the grasshoppers, Nick must now adapt to life. But he needs time apart to heal, and it is in the woods of his boyhood that this psychic restoration can take place. The story contains no dialogue whatsoever, and there are only a few junctures in which Nick lapses back into thought. He will eventually return to “the swamp” of being conscious in a human society. But for now it is the physical action of camping, fishing, and staying alive in the natural world that must serve as his vocation.