The Sea Change

Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sea Change” was first published in The Quarter in 1931, and again in Winner Take Nothing in 1933. In the story, we have the theme of pride, acceptance, forgiveness, independence, sexuality and conflict.

The story takes place in Paris in a bar, where a couple is supposedly in the story. The man’s name was Phil, and the girl is unnamed, and from the story we can grasp that the couple has an age difference, but they are still considered a young couple. It becomes clear to the reader that the man is aware that his girlfriend has cheated on him but what surprises him more is the fact that she has had a relationship with another woman. Even though he was cheated on, he still accepted the fact that she was interested in women too, because he respected the fact that it was difficult for her to tell, due to the time period that the story was told in.

The story ends with the girl leaving the bar, and Phil talking to the bartender “James”.  James is unaware of the conflict that exists within the man over his girlfriend’s sexuality. He is also unaware of their conversation and the difficulties that the man is encountering while trying to accept his girlfriend’s sexuality. When Phil was repeating “I am a different man” to James, he doesn´t understand that Phil meant that he was now in a relationship with someone who did not love him as much as he wanted her to do.


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