What can students learn from the story "Indian Camp"?
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I think one of the most important things to learn from the story is the clash of cultures that Hemingway depicts in the story. Nick's father is totally obvious to the pain the Indian woman is experiencing. He doesn't thing she needs any pain killers whenher performe a caesarian section because "her screams don't bother me.". He has no sympathy for how the pain affects the woman or her husband. When the woman bites his brother, his brother calls her a "damn squaw". Both men congratulate themselves on the operation calling it "one for the medical journals." They have no understanding of either the woman's physical pain or the husband's psychological pain. Both are shocked when the husband kills himself because he cannot stand to see his wife suffering so much--something that could have been easily eliminated by pain medication. Nick, also, seems undisturbed by the death. At the end of the story, sitting in the rowboat with his father, he thinks "he will never die." His father seems so strong and competent to the young boy.
Ironically, in reality, both Heminway's father and Hemingway himself did commit suicide because, like the Indian husband, they could not stand the pain of living any longer. So, the story both foreshadows events in Hemingway's own life, shows the clash of cultures between the Indians and whites, and also is a warning about what happens people are in too much pain.
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