Comparison of Archer Newland from Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence and Nick Adams from Hemingway’s In Our Time. Compare these two characters (both initaled N.A.) as two modernistic “New Adam” figures.

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A “New Adam” character is a common element of modernistic writing. Both Newland Archer of Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence and Nick Adams of Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time represent “new Adam” characters (both also happen to have the initials N.A. – wondering if the authors purposely gave them the initials to match “New Adam.”
In these works, both characters have a difficult time facing what Hemingway describes as the “nada” of life (the fear that life is ultimately meaningless despite all the hype). There is question as to whether either character ultimately faces this fear. Newland Archer finally decides not to be with Ellen after a lifetime of wishing he could be, because he realizes the reality would never live up to the fantasy he had in his mind. Nick Adams is clearly aware of the letdown of life, but he seems to be hiding from the reality of it, as he stays in the woods fishing and camping.

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