Tag Archives: indian camp

Hemingway’s Experience: Death

“‘Is dying hard, Daddy?’
‘No, I think it’s pretty easy, Nick. It all depends.’
They were seated in the boat. Nick in the stern, his father rowing. The sun was coming up over the hills. A bass jumped, making a circle in the water. Nick trailed his hand in the water. It felt warm in the sharp chill of the morning.  In the early morning on the lake sitting in the stern of the boat with his father rowing; he felt quite sure that he would never die.”

It seems as though writing from experience is a common technique for modern fiction writers.  Not only does Hemingway write from his war experience, but he isn’t afraid to include gore (Indian Camp).  Not only does Hemingway enhance the text with descriptive morbid scenes, but he contrasts the melancholy with a glimpse of optimism while tying in the dawn of a new day.

 

 

No Judgment

He pulled back the blanket from the Indian’s head. His hand came away wet. He mounted on the edge of the lower bunk with the lamp in one hand and looked in. The Indian lay with his face towards the wall. His throat had been cut from ear to ear. The blood had flowed down into a pool where his body sagged the bunk. His hand rested on his left arm. The open razor lay, edge up, in the blankets.

Hemingway, Ernest. “Indian Camp.” In Our Time. New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 2003. 18. Print.

Hemingway, throughout his stories, has a style where almost every single line is written without emotion or judgment of the situation that is occurring. In this passage, a suicide is described, but we are never given an expression of horror, or any expression at all. Perhaps the idea is to simply accept what is being described or to feel the horror without the assistance of any character depicting it for us.

Beautiful sumnation…

“In the early morning on the lake sitting in the stern of the boat with  his father rowing, he felt quite sure that he would never die.” (19)

Hemingway, Ernest. “Indian Camp” In Our Time. New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 2003. 19. Print.

This last sentence is such an effective and powerful usage of minimalism. The final repetition of the early time of day speaks to the new beginning of life and learning. Sitting in the stern while his father rows seems to suggest that while he has learned a valuable lesson, he is still not far enough along that he can guide himself forward. This is further evidenced by his feelings of immortality, something that is present in us all at such a young age.

Hemingway’s hint of “home” compared to war culture?

“He was feeling exalted and talkative as football players are in the dressing room after a game.”

Hemingway, Ernest. In Our Time. New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1958. p18.

I thought that this comparison with the football players was very odd. It did not fit into the context of what seemed to be a very serious, warlike environment. Did Hemingway use this specific comparison to show how the people who were witnessing and experiencing war were regular people who used to be in the “football” culture back at home?

Observation

“She screamed just as Nick and the two Indians followed his father and Uncle George into the shanty. She lay in the lower bunk, very big under a quilt. Her head turned to one side. In the upper bunk was her husband. He had cut his foot very badly with an ax three days before. He was smoking a pipe. The room smelled very bad.”

Hemingway, Ernest. In Our Time. New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1958. Print.

This description of the room sounds a lot like a child making quick observations, when he entered the room. The reader gets an idea of what is going on, through the voice of the boy, Nick.

No Longer A Little Child

“‘Oh, Daddy, can’t you give her something to make her stop screaming?’ asked Nick” (Hemingway 16)

Hemingway, Ernest. In Our Time. New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1958. Print.

That quote emphasizes that Nick is still a youth and that him being exposed to the pains and sufferings of labor scares him. The screams indicate his fear as well as he tells his father to make the woman stop screaming. Kids hate watching people suffer and that is the case with Nick; therefore, he is still a young kid who is being exposed to the harsh sufferings of the world. This story shows the reflection of a youth becoming slowly exposed to the harsh realities to life as he watches the woman in labor and the man commit suicide. The questions and statements he makes all reflect his growing up.