THE WORLD OF ENGLISH Thursday, 25.02.2021, 02:08
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Insomnia is a great problem for a person. As we can see in "Now I lay me” Nick also suffers from it. But every man has different reasons for insomnia. For our main character it is a fear: "I had been living for a long time with the knowledge that if I ever shut my eyes in the dark and let myself go, my soul would go out of my body.” So Nick is just used not to sleeping. But he is grown-up enough to beware of losing his soul while sleeping. In my opinion, Nick worries. People call this state a "nervosism”. It’s natural for people who pass through many difficulties in their lives or outlive something really shocking and terrible.

So every night Nick has to do something, because he just can’t sleep. And he recollects. His life. Most of all he likes to recollect his childhood, when he was fishing. Maybe the reason for it is that his childhood was more peaceful and safe.

In the story Nick speaks with John about insomnia and the whole life. His friend thinks that main Nick’s problem is that he is not married. John has a wife and three daughters. They’re waiting for their breadwinner at home in Chicago. Nick seems to be alone in this world. Even on the field he continues to learn this life. And war shows the cruelest side of the world. In his childhood Nick had his parents, then friends, and now he doesn’t have any close friends. Maybe that’s the reason for his insomnia. Nick just doesn’t have any support in this life. Nobody is waiting for him. Family means not only close people, but a place where you can be in safety. Family and home can become the reference point. And from this point Nick can build his life.

Probably John is right while convincing Nick that he needs to marry some woman.

(by Seagull)

And all he's got now is...

He can't sleep. He's afraid to sleep. If one sleeps one may die. He believes that it's true. And that it can happen to him. He is just lying and recollecting his past...

He's on the war. He witnesses death and suffer, he is surrounded by corpses and those who are worse that dead, having their souls rotten and corrupted by everyday violence. He sees the dark side of the life and this darkness becomes his own. Broken, changed... now he's not a naïve young boy he used to be. But still there is a thin thread between nowadays_he and he_in_the _past. This thread is called Reminiscences.

He thinks about his childhood and adolescence, about his parents, friends, acquaintances... he tries to remember everything – even the smallest detail. He's influences by this war and he understands that it has spoiled him, has mutilated his self. But still every night he tries to back to his past – just not to fell asleep, not to die. Just because he knows – if he stops recollecting he will drop off to sleep and then he'll definitely fade away.

Till a man has reminiscences he's alive. And his reminiscences are the only one thing he's got now.

(by Rina)

If I should die before I wake,

I pray the Lord my soul to take.

…The peaceful lines which infuse with hope…But he is hopeless; sleepless nights have become ‘a habitual ritual’ which is the only source of his existence. He wanders in his dreams far away from where he is, he is fishing, he is going through the vistas of bygone times. But he keeps awake. He prays for those people whom he has seen only once, for those whom he will never see again. The fishing rod on his shoulder, he is striding miles and miles along lakes and rivers, fields and meadows. And he is afraid. He is, unlike most soldiers and heroes we meet on the pages of the novels ever written, afraid of death, and his fear doesn’t seem to him irrational. The war knocked him down and he is never to get on his feet. He is a long way off from what all people call ‘life’. Marriage, happiness, coziness, and steadiness – he crossed these things out of his days and nights.

When we read "Now I Lay Me”, we unconsciously turn our mind to the book’s opening story "Indian Camp” when we first met the main character, Nick Adams. His childhood, that is the time when he just started to come into contact with evil, is roughly juxtaposed to the time when the war rushed into his life and crippled him both physically and spiritually. The very title, the line borrowed from a prayer for children, hints at this tremendous distance that divides our lyrical hero from his happy past.

(by MissJane)

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