Indian Camp - Part 3
This story takes place on an Indian camp in Michigan - Indian Camp introduction. An Indian camp is a place where Indians live. One night, Dr. Adams is summoned to help an American Indian woman who has been in painful labor for two days. The doctor takes his young son, Nick, and his brother, George, to the American Indian camp on the other side of a northern Michigan lake. There, the doctor performs impromptu. mprovised cesarean with a fishing knife, catgut, and no anesthetic to deliver the baby. Afterward, he discovers that the woman’s husband, who was in the bunk above hers, silently cut his throat during the painful ordeal. Nick: Nick is the doctor’s son and knowing the age of the doctor one can conclude that the son is therefore a child. The text does not say how old he is but in the story he does not sound like his very old because of the kind of questions he asks.
In the end of the story he asks his father if all women have such a hard time having babies, and this does not seem like someone that very old and the fact that he does not know what labor is also an important factor. After the operation and the man who killed himself Nick appeared a bit scared and started asking his father about death and asking if dying is hard. Also along the operation Nick appeared more and more scared of the situation, and therefore he also lost his curiosity like it said in the text: “Nick did not watch.
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His curiosity had been gone for a long time. ”. As previously stated the son does not seem very old and another thing to support this assumption is the fact that the place he wants to be is somewhere where he can be safe and cuttle with his father, because in the very end where he is rowing away in the boat with his father, the text is saying: ”He felt quite sure that he would never die. ” Nick’s father: In contrast to Nick, his dad is more discreet and prudent. He is affectionate with his boy, and is very assertive when it is needed.
He does not tell Nick more than what is necessary about the trip, primarily to avoid making him nervous; this is observed when he says that “there’s an Indian lady very sick” which is a pedagogic way of explaining to a child that a woman is in labor and is having lots of pain. He is addressed as “the doctor” by all characters in exception of his son, who just calls him dad. There is no direct description of his physical or personal characteristics; but judging from the way he cares about Nick and the way he speaks to his brother makes one interpret him as a white middle-aged man.
There is no sign of Nick’s mother, and no female figure is mentioned by the father or by the son. The doctor seems to be very self confident, something that he exaggerates and turns it to arrogance. The symbolic meaning of the cigars goes beyond just being a gift. They were given as a sign of truce. Cigars were a way of proving that the two races could be more or less equal, and that they had to work together to accomplish common causes. The reason for Uncle George to give cigars, and not any other item was a result of the fact that they were highly appreciated by northern Indian tribes.
Cigars were more common than cigarettes in the last decades of the nineteenth century4, but that rule would not apply for Indians living up north. The main themes in Indian Camp are first of all the initiation into the life-death relationship, which is a process that Nick undergoes and has a deep influence on his perception of good and wrong, thus it would be suitable as the main theme of the story. Another theme which one could find to be persisting and re-appearing throughout the whole story is the father-son relationship.
The bond between Nick and his dad is obviously strengthened after the horrible suicide which they both had to experience. The way Hemingway presents this father-son relationship could be, from our perspective, another indirect reference to how he and his dad felt being with each other; he uses Nick’s relationship as a way to analyse his own childhood. One could argument for this by saying that Hemingway repeatedly uses Nick in his short stories as a victim of the wrongdoing committed.