Earnest Hemingway’s “The Indian Camp”
Through “The Indian Camp”, Earnest Hemingway portrays the life of Nick, a character who is initiated into the ways of the people at a young age due to the recommendation of his father. The experiences of the young boy at the Indian Camp indicate immaturity and lack of comprehension of many of the things that occur in life. The experience of a new birth through rudimentary caesarian section and of death through suicide elicits many questions which Nick’s father answers as a way of teaching him.
The experience culminates in the explanation of various aspects of life and the ultimate death. Through the story, the key theme that emerges is that of masculinity. This theme is shown through contrasting depiction of characters. For instance, Nick’s father, a doctor is portrayed as symbol of masculine stoicism due to the indifference to the woman’s pains (Mullins 479). The suicidal behavior is shown to be feminine based on the advice given by Nick’s father to be courageous. Nick’s empathy is also depicted to be feminine.
Through derogatory remarks by uncle George directed towards Indian women in particular and women in general, the theme of racism and sexism is shown. Comments regarding the insignificance of the screams, inevitability of the pains and description of the woman as ‘her kind’ all exemplify sexist attitudes as well as racism. In addition to this, the boastful actions of the doctor during the performance of the c-section as well as representation of feminine words in pronouns all depict racism (Lamb and Robert 17). The story does not dwell much on the female characters. For instance, the expectant woman has no identity and no significance to the story. All that is mentioned is her screams. In conclusion, “The Indian Camp” represents a level of masculinity, sexism and racism that may not be acceptable in the contemporary world.
Lamb, Robert Paul. The Hemingway short story: a study in craft for writers and readers. LSU Press, 2013.
Mullins, Geoffrey C. “The Indian camp.” The Medical journal of Australia 196.7 (2012): 477.
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