papa was weird sometimes, too

I had a further thought on my last post, which is that Hemingway illustrated both sides of my point.

On the positive side (and this may have been an influence on me – I read a lot of Hemingway when someone told me, "Hey, I'll bet you read Hemingway, you write like him," before I had ever read anything of his) there are the Nick Adams stories. They were written throughout his life, twenty-four stories (eight unpublished at his death), covering many different points in the character's life. Most of the stories are good, and some are great, and each of course stands on its own. But, collected in one volume (as they are now), in the proper order (of the character's life, not the order of writing or publication), they gain a lot. An argument could be made that, as one narrative, they are a better story than some of his novels.

On the other hand, look at the protagonists of those novels. Read the books one after the other, and it's like meeting the same person over and over, with a different name and a slightly different history. Why give a character a different name when it's clearly the same person? I think you can gain a lot (as the Nick Adams example illustrates) by admitting it, make it the same person, and start to build a life, rather than a little slice of one.

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