Written in 1923 and published in 1925 as part of the short story collection In Our Time, "Out of Season" focuses, like so many of Ernest Hemingway's works, on the theme of marital discord. The main characters are a "young gentleman," his wife Tiny, and Peduzzi, a fishing guide. As they leave the hotel, the young gentleman and the guide walk ahead while the wife follows "sullenly" behind, carrying the rods. Peduzzi, who is drunk and quite jocular, urges the wife to walk up front with them, but she does not comply until the young gentleman shouts to her. It is apparent that their relationship is strained.
Peduzzi makes it known that he would like "something to drink," but the wine shop is closed. The couple stops at the Concordia, and the young gentleman asks Peduzzi what he wants, making it clear that he does not want the guide to accompany them inside. As they sit at the counter in the Concordia, the young gentleman addresses his wife by name, telling her he is sorry she feels "so rotten" and apologizing for talking to her "the way (he) did at lunch." She tells him, "It doesn't make any difference."
When the couple is rejoined by Peduzzi, the guide says he will carry the rods. Although it is forbidden to fish during this season, he assures them that no one will make any trouble. The young gentleman, however, is worried that they will be caught by the police, and his wife resentfully accuses him of not having "the guts to just go back." Peduzzi tells them it is a half-hour more to their destination, and the young gentleman tells Tiny not unkindly to go on back, because she is cold and "it's a rotten day and (they) aren't going to have any fun anyway." Tiny complies.
As it turns out, the guide decides they should fish without going any further. Unfortunately, the young gentleman has not brought any lead with which to weigh down the lines, and they are unable to fish. He and Peduzzi make plans to try again tomorrow, but as the sun comes out, the young gentleman feels relief that "he (is) no longer breaking the law." He tells the guide that he "may not be going...very probably not," and will leave word of his decision with the padrone at the hotel office.
Critics are divided as to the nature of the conflict between the young gentleman and his wife. Some argue that their marriage itself, like trout fishing, is "out of season," while others contend that the problem is that Tiny is pregnant, and her husband wants her to get an abortion. Whatever the situation, it is evident that the young gentleman is ambivalent about what he should do. It is significant that when he discovers they will not be illegally fishing after all, he is relieved. Metaphorically, his newfound peace might indicate that he has decided not to force his wife to terminate her pregnancy in defiance of the law, or that he has chosen not to seek the dissolution of their marriage, which would be against the law of the Church. In either case, the suggestion is that the young gentleman's decision is not quite final, but will "probably" be resolved in a manner consistent with legality.