“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.