“Swami help up the envelope and said, ‘I will give this to the headmaster as soon as he is back…’ Father snatched it from his hand, tore it up and thrust it into the wastepaper basket under his table. He muttered, ‘Don’t come to me for help even if Samuel throttles you. You deserve your Samuel.’” (72)
Narayan, R.K. “Father’s Help.” Malgudi Days. New York: Penguin Classics, 2006. Print.
The most interesting part about this passage is understanding what Swami truly deserves. When Swami speaks the truth towards Samuel, he receives no punishment. However, when Swami intentionally disobeys Samuel for the sake of getting rid of him, Swami receives strong a beating for it. In addition, his father probably knew that Swami was not stating the whole truth. Father might have suspected that because Swami arrived home with the letter, he was disobeying him. Given that, the only reason why Swami would even think of disobeying his father is if Samuel was not as bad as he was told, which the case was. As a result, Father gets rid of the letter to prevent Samuel from being punished without reason. So, in the end, no matter how Samuel is, Father perceives him as the best teacher for Swami.
“Then he frowned in the gruff man of a man who was really good and kind at heart, but who knew he was weak and infirm and so bullied his children, to preserve his authority, lest he should be repudiated by them, refused and rejected as the difficult old rubbish he was.” (31)
Anand, Mulk Raj. Untouchable. London, England: Penguin, 1986. Print.
Unclear authorial perspective – is he actually good and kind at heart, or is he difficult old rubbish?
“But the nights! ‘I must get another blanket,’ he said to himself. ‘Then father won’t ask me to put the quilt on. He always keeps abusing me. He is happy when they call him Jemadar. So proud of his izzat! He just goes about getting salaams from everybody. I don’t take a moment’s rest and yet he abuses me. And if I go to play with the boys he calls me in the middle of a game to attend the latrines. He is old. He doesn’t know anything of the sahibs. And now he will call me to get up, and it is so cold. He will keep lying in bed and Rakha and Sohini will still be asleep, when I go to the latrines.'” (12).
Anand, Mulk Raj. Untouchable. New York: Penguin Group, 2014. Print. 12.
After ending the sentence nights with an exclamation, the author begins a shift in order to get into the mind of Bakha himself which is filled with direct discourse since he uses I to get his point across along with a tone that is filled with hatred-bitterness for his father based on he way he abuses him. Just by Bakha describing how his father is proud of his izzat, it seems like there is hatred within that sentence just by reading it since his father believes his title gives him some type of upper class status, but in reality it does not since it all depends on the caste system. Soon after the author shifts back to third person narration once more.
“Is dying hard, Daddy?” “No, I think it’s pretty easy, Nick. It all depends.”
Hemingway, Ernest. In Our Time. New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1958. Print.
The conversation between the boy and his father was a compelling and moving moment in the short story, “Indian Camp.” After witnessing the death and suicide of an Indian Man, the son asks his father if death is hard, and his response was vague, but profound. Death is easy but life is difficult. I believe that was what the Doctor was trying to explain to his son. It is more challenging and arduous to face your problems and fears and overcoming them than it is to simply just quit or run away. The brief conversation between the pair I believe was what made the short narrative something special.
“Dick Boulton looked at the doctor. Dick was a big man. He knew how big a man he was. He liked to get into fights. He was happy. Eddy and Billy Tabeshaw leaned on their canthooks and looked at the doctor. The doctor chewed the beard on his lower lip and looked at Dick Boulton. Then he turned away and walked up the hill to the cottage. They could see from his back how angry he was. They all watched him walk up the hill and go inside the cottage” (Kindle edition – no page numbers given).
Throughout “The Doctor and the Doctor’s Wife” Hemingway places an important role on masculinity and its effect on relationships. Dick Boulton’s pride causes an altercation between him and the doctor, whereas the doctor’s pride causes an altercation between him and his wife. This theme seems to be reoccurring throughout the plot and it is clear the the doctor’s son chooses his father’s side by the end of the narrative over his mother’s, demonstrating a continuation of this mindset.
Hemingway, Ernest. “The Doctor and the Doctor’s Wife.” In Our Time. New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 2003. Print.
“Do ladies always have such a hard time having babies?”
Throughout the vignette, Nick asks his father these types of questions, because Nick looks up to his father as a mentor and as someone who has most of the answers in life. Hemingway depicts the important bond between a father and son through these moments, where a son learns from watching his father. However, the Indian baby boy’s father takes his own life after his son is born. It is interesting to see the loss of the father/son dynamic that the vignette builds throughout.
Hemingway, Ernest. “The Doctor and the Doctor’s Wife.” In Our Time. New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 2003. 19. Print.
“‘Ought to have a look at the proud father. They’re usually the worst sufferers in these little affairs,’ […] He pulled the blanket away from the Indian’s head. His hand came away wet. […] The Indian lay with his face toward the way. HIs throat had been cut from ear to ear. The blood had flowed down into a pool where his body sagged the bunk. His head rested on his left arm. The open razor lay, edge up, in the blankets” (18).
The doctor makes a statement that generally fathers cannot stand to watch a Caesarian being performed on their wives, and that they experience great pain just by witnessing the event, but then he discovers that the father who was seemingly calm could not bear to live. I think it is interesting how a birth and a death occur in the same room and within minutes of one another. The language used in this passage is “matter of the fact” because there is nothing poetic or flowery about the Indian’s suicide. I thought it was interesting how Nick and Uncle George had names but the Indian characters did not. This may suggest that the “little affair” that occurred in the shanty that night was not unique to that couple. Other Indian fathers had committed suicide, or more generally speaking, other Indians had been suffering.
Hemingway, Ernest. “The Doctor and the Doctor’s Wife.” In Our Time. New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 2003. 18. Print.