Up in Michigan Summary
by Ernest Hemingway

Start Your Free Trial

Download Up in Michigan Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Synopsis

The erotically named short story "Up In Michigan" appeared in Ernest Hemingway's first published work, Three Stories and Ten Poems. Three hundred copies were printed in Paris by Robert Almon in 1923. It reappeared in 1938 in The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories and later still in 1997 in The Short Stories, a Scribner Classic Edition. The story is set in Hortons Bay, Michigan, close to where Hemingway spent his adolescent summers. For some unexplained reason, he took the first names of Jim and Liz Dilworth, a couple who befriended him, and gave them to the story's main characters.

"Up In Michigan" is deceptively simple, almost plotless. Jim Gilmore, a blacksmith, comes to Hortons Bay and buys the blacksmith shop. Liz Coates is a young girl who works as a waitress for the Smiths, who own the restaurant. Liz falls in love with Jim, who barely notices her. Jim, Smith, and Charley Wyman go on a deer-hunting trip. Liz longs for Jim while he is gone. When the hunters return, they have a few drinks to celebrate their trip. After supper and a few more drinks, Jim goes into the kitchen, hugs and kisses Liz, and says, "come on for a walk." They go to the end of the dock where Jim's hands explore Liz's body. She is frightened and begs him to stop, but allows him to continue. He takes her on the cold, hard dock planks and then passes out on top of her. She gets out from under him, tries to awaken him and, finally, covers him with her coat. Then she walks home, crying.

As rumor has it, Hemingway may have had his first sexual encounter in a similar situation. However, it would be wrong to assume this story to be a bragging account of a seduction by a young, macho Hemingway. In actuality, it is Hemingway's first foray into the feminine...

(The entire section is 472 words.)