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.