In Hemingway's "Indian Camp" we are drawn to Nick's journey into the unknown to experience the cycle of life and death. But even though Nick's experience is or can be thought of as a major theme in the essay, cultural inequality is also an issue that helps to add question and interest to the narrative work. In many instances during this short story, many examples of racial domination are shown just between Nick's family and the Indians. Nick's father, the doctor, and Uncle George's racist behavior towards the Indians can be based upon the history of violence and issues between Caucasians and Native Americans, but we encounter a battle of culture, class, and the struggle of a child experiencing first-hand cases of life and death.
" Indian Camp" starts off at the shore where Nick, his father who is going to help the Indian woman in labor, and Uncle George are awaiting to Rivera 2
be picked up by the Indians in rowboats to take them to the Indian camp. We are already given a prime example of cultural domination as there is no help given by Nick's father or Uncle George in rowing the boats (Hemingway 15). Once the men arrive on land to Indian camp, Uncle George gives the Indians cigars. This kind gesture can be thought of as a simple congratulatory gift for a child being brought into the world, as well as an insult or sign of inappropriateness considering the fact that Indians are not of a high class or able to afford cigars.
Nick's father goes quite a distance from the camp to help the Indian woman in delivering her child. Images of the darkness and dirtiness are used to explain the condition of the Indian camp and highlight the racial inequality between the two cultures. As he operates on "Damn Squaw Bitch"(Hemingway 17), one may notice the conditions in which the room and operating tools are in. It was said that "the room smelled very bad"(Hemingway 16) and once the delivery of the child was made, the doctor used "fishing wire"(Hemingway 17) to sew back...
Cited: Hemingway, Ernest. In Our Time. New York: Macmillan Publishing Comp., 1925.
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