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Analysis: Ernest Hemingway’s The Indian Camp Essay

The short story “Indian Camp” is written by Ernest Hemingway. It is written in 1921 and takes place in North America. “Indian Camp” is about a young boy named Nick, who travels with his father and Uncle George to an Indian Camp to help an Indian girl, who has been in a painful labor for two days. Nick’s father performs a very primitive cesarean, and in meantime the woman’s husband commits suicide by cutting his throat. My intention with this essay is first to make a charactersation of the most important characters of the story.

Afterwards I would like to make a short analysis of the structure, narrator and language. And at last I intend to make an interpretation of the theme of “Indian Camp”. The main character of the story is Nick, and the description of him is made implicit. We know that he is a boy, who has a great relationship with his father: “Nick lay back with his father’s arm around him. ” p. 1, l. 9. He is a young boy, about 8-10 years, because he is old enough to see the cesarean, but not the suicide. Nick is very brave, because he tackles the whole situation without crying and screaming.

He thinks a lot and reflex on life, which is seen in the end, when he keeps asking about life and death. Nick is a complex character, because he goes through a development. In the beginning of the story he is sitting next to his father in the stern of the boat, and he doesn’t really know what a birth is, but in the end he is sitting in front of his father in the boat and is sure about what life is. Nick’s father is a flat character. He is middle-age since he has a son and a long education.

He is proud of being a doctor, which is seen, when he teaches Nick about the birth. He cares a lot about his son, because he apologize him for taking him to the Indian Camp. He wants to avoid making him nervous, so he only tells him a few necessary things about the trip. Uncle George doesn’t have an active role in the story. But it seems as if he has a friendly relationship with the Indians, because he is already in the camp in the beginning of the story, and he stays there after the birth. There are many signs, that he might be the father of the baby.

He stands next to the woman under the birth, and when she bites him, she smiles. Her husband commits suicide. He was maybe ashamed of his wife being together with another man. Another sign could be, that in America they have a tradition that you hand out a cigar, when you become a father. “Uncle George gave both the Indians cigars. ” p. 2, l. 3. Ernest Hemingway choice of narrator and languages is focused by, that we have to think self and read between the lines. He has used a 3th person omniscient narrator seen from Nick’s point of view.

But sometimes the narrator changes to someone else’s point of view: Nick’s father is not “the father” but suddenly “the doctor”. Uncle George looked at his arm. ” p. 4, l. 10. Nick doesn’t see this, because he isn’t in the room. The language in “Indian Camp” is objective. There isn’t used many adjectives and there is much direct speak. The whole story starts in a boat and ends in a boat. It has the structure: home-out-home, where there at home is cosmos and out chaos. Nick’s goes through his development, when he is out in chaos.

The story starts in media-res and it has an open ending. Indian Camp” has many themes. Growing up is a good theme for this story, because Nick goes through the development from child to an adult. It could also be life and death, as a man dies and a baby is born. Another theme could be the bond between Nick and his father and how it clearly changes after the suicide. His father sees how important it is to protect the one you love and therefore apologizes to Nick. Ernest Hemingway’s short story is about how a child deals the “real tough” life and also about the secession process from parents and develops.


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