My dear friend Sophia, an excellent writer and an ongoing student of German literature, has offered to present to us her personal favourites of the current literature-world.
Ernest Hemingway’s “Indian Camp“
“She lay in the lower bunk, very big under a quilt. Her head was turned to one side. In the upper bunk was her husband. He had cut his foot very badly with an axe three days before. He was smoking a pipe. The room smelled very bad.”
Nick is surprised and curious at the same time. He’s never seen something like that before. His father is calm and seems to know what he has to do, even though he admits this situation is very exceptional. Nick is scared because of her screams and he feels sorry for the woman who’s in labor. Uncle George helps Nick’s father to operate the woman in the shanty, which is hard without any anaesthetic. Finally, when the boy is born, the doctor wants to compliment the father on his baby. He notices fathers “are usually the worst sufferers in these little affaires, […] [he] must say he took it all pretty quietly”. But the Indian had cut his throat from ear to ear. When George and Nick’s father try to take the boy out of the shanty it’s already to late. He’d seen every detail due to his good view. “Is dying hard, Daddy?” “No, I think it’s pretty easy, Nick. It all depends.” All in all Nick feels quite sure that his father would never die.
“Indian Camp” by Ernest Hemingway is a typical story of initiation. Nick, a young boy has to face crude facts concerning death and pain. One single incident changes his outlook on life. It’s probably the first time he’s quite aware of the fact that life itself is a great challenge and not everybody can stand it. But there are also some people who live their life to help others and to support weak personalities. His father faces death and illness that calm, Nick can’t believe that he could die one day. He brings hope in the dark circumstances and motivates his son.