Friday, November 12, 2010

Indian Camp

"Indian Camp" is a short story written by Ernest Hemingway. The story was published in a literary magazine in 1924, and a year later in the American edition of Hemingway's In Our Time.

The story shows a young boy—Nick Adams—who accompanies his father and uncle on an early-morning trip to help an Indian (Native American) woman through a difficult childbirth. In the story Nick's father performs an emergency operation on the woman, after which they discover the woman's husband has committed suicide.

The story is the first to feature Hemingway's semi-autobiographical character Nick Adams. Critics consider the story important because it shows the emergence of Hemingway's understated style, his use of counterpoint, and themes that permeate much his work.

The story opens as a young Nick Adams crosses a lake in a canoe with his doctor father and uncle, on their way to an Indian camp. They have been asked to assist a pregnant woman who is having difficulty giving birth. Arriving at the camp, they find the woman in a cabin, lying on a bunk; in the bed above lies her injured husband. Nick's father is forced to perform a Caesarian operation with a jack-knife as Nick holds a basin. After the baby has been delivered, Nick's father finds the woman's husband covered in blood from having slit his neck with a straight edged razor. Nick's father finally sends him out of the cabin. The uncle has disappeared. The story ends with Nick and his father, again in the canoe, on a lake, paddling away from the camp. Nick asks his father why the woman's husband killed himself, silently asserting he will never die.

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