A Way You'll Never Be

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"A Way You'll Never Be" is a 1933 short story by Ernest Hemingway, published by Charles Scribner in the short story collection Winner Take Nothing. It features the character Nick Adams as he recovers from a traumatic head wound.


Nick Adams has been wounded in Italy during World War I and is suffering from shell-shock, or post-traumatic stress syndrome. He is plagued by nightmares, in which he sees the eyes of the Austrian soldier who shot him. Nick's friend, the Italian Captain Paravicini, believes that Nick's head wound should have been treated differently; he worries about Nick's bouts of "craziness." One hot summer day, Nick bicycles from the village of Fornaci to Captain Paravicini's encampment. On the way, he witnesses the miles of bloated corpses and the hundreds of blowing pieces of military papers. When Nick reaches camp, an Italian second lieutenant questions Nick's identification papers before Paravicini intervenes and coaxes Nick to lie down and rest before he returns to Fornaci; he fears for Nick's sanity and safety despite the young American's valiant attempt to deal with his war-torn memories.