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THE BATTLER


Being busted off the freight little boy Nick had to walk home along the railing and the swamp. On his way home in the woods he met a weird man sitting by the fire. The stranger turned out to be a former champion fighter, Ad Francis. His mutilated face is a reminder of his past. But he is disfigured not only outwardly; his real self is disgusting too. A strong man who can’t live without fighting and who is looking forward to it; a man, who was ready to beat a small boy; a man who used to be famous and strong turned out to be an ugly nutcase who can be stopped only by a blackjack. Who is he? A crazy villain? His story told by his friend Bugs threw light on his character. A former champion who has lost his fame, his woman, his glory. Ad Francis faced misfortune and turned out to be a miserable man. All his violence that first seems unjustified is just a cause of his failures. After meeting this strange miserable man, Nick begins to realize that there is no evil without any reason.

(by Rina)



  "The Battler” is closely connected with "Ten Indians”. In these stories we see people who are in rage because of what life has done with them or is still doing. That blow in the face that Nick got from the breaker seems to be an allusion for the blow of life itself. Or maybe at some extent it is a precaution for Nick. Or even it’s a necessary element of his life scenario – he shall meet Ad, who’s a former fighter. This is a turn in his fate – a memorable moment that explains some things not only to Nick, but to readers as well. Ad has always been a good fighter, but his love affair wasn’t as successful. His wife has left him, and it seems to be the only reason for his overwhelming rage and fury attacks that strike him from time to time. He seems to be a protagonist of the future Nick, like a model of what may happen and of what Nick will look like. Bugs seems to be the antagonist of Ad – he’s calm and gentle. One lesson that life teaches Nick and that develops him is that brutality is of no value. Just watch where it led Ad to. Nick feels it in his own way and absorbs it in order to digest it into a new brick of his personality. To be gentle and kind – this is what really helps. This is what really matters.

   (by 8davids8)



In this story the main character Nick was thrown down from the train. He walked alone and suddenly he found a bonfire. He saw a man, his name was Ad Francis. The author gave us the description of his appearance in detail: "…he had only one ear…", "His nose was sunken, his eyes were slits, he had queer-shaped lips". A little bit later the author would tell us Ad's life-story. He was a very famous boxer and he was busting people quite often, that's why they put him in jail. There he met a negro – Bugs. Lately Bugs would become his friend, he would be with Ad all the time and care. Ad is crazy and that is what life has done with him. After that accident life thrown Ad down. And once popular, rich boxer became a real tramp. He didn't find strength to become a human again. This story shows us that our life can change every minute. You can be as famous, successful and rich as Ad Francis but anything can happen and you will be so maddened, crazy, helpless as Ad Francis. Life is a very difficult thing and we need to remember it. 

(by Megastarosta)


Like all other stories by Hemingway, this episode from Nick’s life shouldn’t be interpreted in a one-sided way. It is so multifaceted that it can hardly be understood at once. Looking upon the plot of the story and its subject matter, a reader might say it is too short to be comprehended in a proper way, it lacks many descriptions and details which reconstruct the flow of the events. A valid proposition, by the way. But Hemingway’s uncertainties are not a sort of hit-or-miss, they were evidently made on purpose. We don’t find a full story of Ad Francis’s life; on the contrary, the fragmentary and patchy narration suggests "the deeds of darkness” which are only hinted at through the dialogs. The author uses implication whenever it is possible making all the other insignificant features stand out. Such is the little episode with the unnaturally slow beating of the battler’s heart. What does this tiny and rather minor detail tell us? To some extent this symbol presupposes that the man was tough, strong and healthy but on the other hand, this detail lays lots of emphasis on the discrepancy between his physical soundness and moral mutilation. The fighter, formerly prosperous and famous, adopted an outcast’s pattern of life. Obviously, the main message is concentrated in the title of the story. The author proves that our life is at times a painstaking one. You need to be a good fighter to be able to find a way-out while being under a heavy handicap. To resist the blow means to be a hard nut. But in this story Ad Francis seems to an exception for the rule. Being a fighter by profession, he is not a battler in his life. He couldn’t cope with the failures, he lost everything he had, and he even lost his adequate understanding of reality. He had been used to solve all the problems with the help of his fists, but life crushed his obstinacy without force of arms throwing him down from the train called ‘life’.

  (by MissJane)




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