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A Person's Struggle to Heal Founded in Big Two-Hearted River Ernest Hemingway's "Big Two-Hearted River"* is such a rich text that it's probably received more literary critical attention than many books of several times its own length. Hemingway's fervent utilization of complex detail and his own intentional, calculated use of short, simple sentences help to create "River" a treasure chest of crucial ideas and potential interpretations. Historically, much of the criticism of "River" has analyzed the shadowy underlying themes of the narrative, like the alleged omission of some preceding, devastating event and Nick's wounded religious and psychological condition. These paragraphs, like "There was no city, nothing but the railings and the burned-over country," are representative of the prosperity of similar language throughout the narrative and also make it easy to understand why many critics concentrate on dark topics, devastation and mental uncertainty. Without denying or dispelling some of the valid "dark" critiques, I intend to demonstrate that "River" may also be readily understood in a more favorable light as an account of one person's battle to cure himself by returning to what he understands and enjoys. The extreme detail that abounds within the story makes an easy job for the deconstructionist. The intricate descriptions of Nick's actions are vulnerable to deconstructive criticism, as may be seen at James Twitchell's "The Swamp in Hemingway's 'Big Two-Hearted River." Twitchell focuses on the physical improbability of the swamp present adjacent to the river as it is explained in the story. A swamp is a place where the water goes very slowly, if at all; however, Nick refers to the river like being pumped with boulders, acquiring a pebbly bottom, and "fast moving water" (209). Twitchell po...