Now I Lay Me (Hemingway)

From Wikisum
Disclaimer: This summary was generated by AI, so it may contain errors.
Now I Lay Me
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A soldier struggled with insomnia due to a fear of losing his soul in the dark, and spent nights reminiscing about his past, fishing, and praying for people he had known.

A man struggled with insomnia, fearing that if he fell asleep in the dark, his soul would leave his body.

I had been living for a long time with the knowledge that if I ever shut my eyes in the dark and let myself go, my soul would go out of my body.

To pass the time, he would think about trout fishing in streams from his childhood, remembering every detail of the landscape and the fish he caught.

I would think of a trout stream I had fished along when I was a boy and fish its whole length very carefully in my mind.

He would also try to remember and pray for all the people he had ever known, starting from his earliest memories in his grandfather's attic. However, some nights he couldn't remember his prayers or the people he knew, so he would just listen to the sounds around him.

One night, he shared a room with another man who also couldn't sleep. They talked about their lives, with the other man sharing stories about his wife and children in Chicago. The man suggested that getting married might help with the insomnia, and for a while, the insomniac thought about the girls he had known and what kind of wives they would make. However, he eventually returned to thinking about trout fishing, as the streams were always changing and interesting, while the girls blurred together in his mind.

The Narrator — young soldier; insomniac; thoughtful, introspective.
John — narrator's orderly; former Chicago resident; married with children; nervous, talkative.

The insomniac continued to struggle with sleep, but he prayed for his friend and was glad when he was removed from active service before a major offensive. The friend visited him in the hospital later, disappointed that he hadn't married yet, but certain that marriage would fix everything.

You ought to get married, Signor Tenente. Then you wouldn't worry.