Big Two-Hearted River

In Big-Two Hearted River we are exposed to who Nick has become.  He has finally ventured home to the river where he grew up near Lake Superior.

Tellingly, he has a quandary when it comes time to cook his first dinner and has to excuse himself for using canned foods instead of nature’s bounty.  In the region where he now is, where he hunted squirrels and fished with his first love, he now has brought in the essence of the modern man with him, an inability to forage for himself.  Most interesting, though, is the way Hemingway approaches this realization: Nick does not think upon it beyond excusing himself under the premise that he had carried the food.

The next day, though, Nick returns honestly to his roots; prepping coffee, cooking pancakes with flour (something standard for those days), and then fishing.  He is not prepared, however, to return to the swamp… He is easing himself into it.

-luke mansfield


A Very Short Story

I must admit, I have had a difficult time gathering thoughts containing much depth concerning Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time; that is not to say, however, that I have not extracted some meaningful qualities from the work. 

Hemingway’s concise nature is effective when he is at his most concise; that is, he convinces you through his word choices and sentence structure that there is no other bit of information you need in order to fully comprehend the given story/situation. If Hemingway fails to do so, one can begin to doubt the credibility of his representation of the story. This can be complicated (as I have found) when the reader makes the assumption that all of the information Hemingway reveals is all the information there is possible to reveal; Hemingway’s talent for being concise is not a talent at all, but a product of being in, at times, rather simple situations.

In “A Very Short Story”, Hemingway successfully articulates a story that convinces the reader all valuable information is present. Hemingway describes the relationship between the man and Luz, the feelings they had for each other, the downfall between the two, and, most importantly, the ending. If someone is to be punished for their behaviour, getting gonorrhea leaves no doubt to who is at fault.

Andrew Doughty

In our Time: The Battler

~~ “Hello, Bugs!” Ad  said. “Hello!” Bugs answered. It was a negro’s voice. Nick knew from the way he walked that he was a negro. ~~

In this part of the book, Hemingway uses a little bit of racism. He is telling us someone is black just by the way he walks. Even though the racism is present here, the black guy is taking care of the white guy, who is obviously crazy. So, the black guy is being presented to the reader awkwardly, but he comes out to be a nice fellow.

-Samka Aljukic

Blog post: In Our Time, Soldier’s Home

“But here at home it was all too complicated.  He knew he could never get through it all again.  It was not worth the trouble.  That was the thing about French girls and German girls.  There was not all this talking.  You couldn’t talk much and you did not need to talk.  It was simple and you were friends.”  -Page 72

Throughout Soldier’s Home there is a sense of disconnection for Krebs.  There was no celebration for him when he returned from the war late.  He feels a sort of half-interest in the girls at home.  He has no job, sleeps late into the day, busies himself with the mundane activities of one who feels they have no place, and is unable to even pray with his mother.  It feels as though the war has changed him but not scarring him like many would think.  Instead it feels as though he has left part of him back in Europe, his heart and sense of belonging, with the countries of France and Germany (most notably Germany).  He did not wish to come home.

Notice that while his mother and sister call him by his first name that the narrator consistently refers to him as Krebs.  It is as if the man who came back is not the same person as the one who left.  There is a profound feeling of change, that Krebs yearns for the simplicity of being a good soldier and resents the complexity of his previous civilian life.

~Brett Wilson



The term prohibition comes from “Prohibition of Alcohol” which was a nationwide ban on the sale, possession, transportation, and distribution of alcohol and alcoholic drinks.  This prohibition was in effect from January 17th, 1920 to December 5th 1933.

The Law

The Volstead Act, the more popular name for the National Prohibition Act, defined what was to be considered intoxicating liquors and described the punishment for various levels of involvement with it.  It also regulated manufacture of alcohol for what it considered lawful industries such as the development of fuels and dyes.

Proponents for the Volstead Act grounded themselves in morality and urged Congress towards it based on the need to keep the American populace away from the dangers of alcoholism.  To this end, prohibitionists would often refer to the Act as “The Noble Experiment”.

The act was originally vetoed by President Woodrow Wilson but was passed anyway with majority by Congress.  The Eighteenth Amendment was ratified on January 16th, 1919.


However noble the intentions were, very little positive change was felt.  The manufacture and consumption of alcohol continued but it only went underground.  Soon came the rise of the speakeasy (social clubs which participated in drinking) and only the trusted were given their locations and passwords to enter.

Crime was on the rise as a result since now something that most people were doing recreationally was considered criminal.  Hidden breweries and distilleries commanded an all-time high price for their clandestine products and their owners were engaged in a constant game of cat-and-mouse with the revenuers, federal agents from the Bureau of Prohibition within the Bureau of Internal Revenue.  These revenuers were charged with finding, seizing, and destroying any illicit alcohol and equipment for its production.

The End

When the general public slowly became aware that most of their countrymen were openly ignoring the Prohibition Act and its laws they began to rally for change.  Those in Washington D.C. grew to understand that the Eighteenth Amendment only led to increased consumption of alcohol and only served as a platform for organized crime to step in.  As if that wasn’t enough, it was well believed that the American public’s respect for the law in general was dwindling because of this prohibition.  The Twenty-first Amendment brought about the end of the Prohibition, repealing it under the office of President Franklin Roosevelt.

~Brett Wilson

Henry Ford Assimilation School

Hey, guys.  Sorry it’s taken me so long to post this.  Here are my notes from my historical presentation. 

Prior to 1885, immigration in the United States was not viewed as a problem.  Immigrants were predominantly from Northwestern Europe and brought religious and cultural customs that were somewhat similar to those of earlier settlers.  There was no significant clashing of cultures and Americanization did not need to be facilitated.

However, after 1885, The United States experienced a steady influx in immigrants arriving from the least industrialized countries of Southern and Eastern Europe.  There were many factors concerning these new immigrant groups that caused native-born Americans to feel that a new movement in Americanization must be pursued.  Americanization during this period is an independent topic which deserves its own tribute.  I will list just a few of the reason the movement was prompted in regard to these new groups of immigrants:

  • Many immigrants did not intend to permanently settle in the U.S. and planned to return to their home countries after war or other crises had subsided.
  • The new immigrants remained in tight socio-ethnic enclaves and did not mix with assimilated groups.  People believed this made them more susceptible to radical political and social propaganda which was considered to be a threat to American ideals.
  • Lack of interest in citizenship meant that there existed a vast pool of military-aged men who were not at the disposal of the U.S. military.


Many efforts were made on municipal, state, federal and even corporate levels to aid the Americanization Movement.  The Ford Americanization Program was one of many such industrial programs implemented.  The program was comprised of two divisions:

  • The Ford Sociological Department (later, the Ford Educational Department)
  • The Ford English School

The Sociological Department collected data on immigrant workers and managed their wages based on very specific standards.  Immigrant workers were expected to “meet standards of productive efficiency and specific standards and conditions of domestic life. (Meyer, 1980)”  There was a lot of emphasis placed not only on the workers’ efficiency and speed on the assembly line, but also their private lives.  The workers were told what neighborhoods to live in, how to keep their homes and how to raise their children. They were told how to dress and how to eat and it was even assumed that they were not well-versed in proper personal hygiene. If workers did not meet Ford standards within 6 months, they were dismissed.  Even religious observations were to be Americanized.  In one case, a group of nearly 1,000 Orthodox Christians were dismissed because they took off from work to celebrate Christmas 13 days later than the rest of the workers.  Often, the demands of the department were impossible to achieve for a newly-arrived immigrant with a large family and very little money.  The standards were being set by middle to upper class men who lacked a fundamental understanding of the challenges faced by immigrants.

The English School, which was founded in 1914, functioned primarily to teach immigrant workers English, to assimilate them to mainstream American society, and to control labor, as immigrant groups were more likely to take interest in unionizing.  It was believed that by learning English and ideals such as capitalism and loyalty to America, the workers would be less likely to have their interest piqued by union groups.  

-Melanie Martin



100% Americanism


100 Percent Americanism

  • •The end of World War I brought great rejoicing but also many problems.
  • –An influenza epidemic from Europe had spread to the U.S., killing more than half a million Americans.
  • –Farms and factories that had prospered during war years closed down as demand for products fell.
  • –Returning soldiers had trouble finding work.
  • •The emotional turmoil had disturbing political effects, as wartime patriotism turned to hatred of Germans.
  • •These sentiments gave rise to a movement known as 100 Percent Americanism, which celebrated all things American while attacking all ideas, and people, it viewed as foreign or anti-American.

The Red Scare, Rise of the Bolsheviks

  • Americans worried about a new enemy.
  • The Bolsheviks, a revolutionary group led by Vladimir I. Lenin, gained control of Russia during World War I.
  • Five years later Russia became part of a new nation called the Soviet Union.
  • The Bolsheviks wanted  communism, a new social system without economic classes or private property.
  • Lenin believed all people should share equally in society’s wealth.
  • Soviets called for the overthrow of capitalism and predicted communism would inspire workers to rise up and crush it.

American Reaction

  • Many Americans were frightened by communism.
  • Americans embraced capitalism and feared a rise of the working class.
  • The picture of “the Hun,” a German symbol, Americans focused hatred on during WWI, was replaced by a new target: communists, known as Reds.
  • Communist parties formed in the U.S. after the war, some advocating violent overthrow of the government.
  • A Red Scare, or widespread fear of communism, gripped the nation.

Major Strikes, But Not Major Victories

  • •The year 1919 was one of the most explosive times in the history of the American labor movement.
  • •Some 4 million workers took part in over 3,000 strikes nationwide, and labor lost in nearly every case.
  • •A few strikes in 1919 hold a place in labor history.

–In Seattle, Washington, labor unrest at the shipyards spread across the city, igniting what became the nation’s first general strike, or one in which all industries take part.

  • •The conflict shut down the city yet failed.
  • •The strike discouraged industry in Seattle for years.

–In Boston, the police force went on strike to protest low wages and poor working conditions.

  • •The city descended into chaos, and Governor Calvin Coolidge called in the militia to end the strike, making him a national hero.

–The United Mine Workers had a “no strikes” pledge during the war, but a strike in 1919 won a large wage increase but not better hours.

–The steel industry also struck in 1919.


  • Nativism produced a 1920s revival of the Ku Klux Klan.
  • The Klan’s terror group had originally targeted African Americans in the South but began also to target Jews, Catholics, and radicals.
  • The Klan slogan of the 1920s was “Native white, Protestant supremacy.”

The Klan moved from the South into other parts of the country.