In "Indian Camp" we meet Nick Adams, a fictional character who appears in many short stories by Ernest Hemingway. Nick is a young and vulnerable protagonist, who is often exposed to a harsh reality with which he has to find a grown-up way to cope. Ernest Hemingway
(1899 - 1961) started his writing career as a seventeen-year-old reporter in a Kansas City newspaper. During the First World War he volunteered as an ambulance driver in Italy. He was severely injured and spent a long period stuck in a hospital bed. This incident provided the setting for one of his most famous novels A Farewell to Arms. The wounded, courageous hero disillusioned by the war and the brutality of modern society soon became Hemingway's trademark. His preoccupation with bullfighting and deep sea fishing is also evident in his stories. As a war correspondent during the Spanish Civil War and a reporter, he developed a particular style of writing characterized by spare dialogues and understatements.
In this short story Nick Adams is on his way to an Indian camp where one of the women is going to give birth. If Nick ever thought babies were delivered by storks, his experience this night crushes the illusion. This is also the night where he learns how fragile life is.
- The story opens like this:
"At the lake shore there was another rowboat drawn up. The two Indians stood waiting."
What effect does this opening have? What do we call this kind of opening? Why do short stories often open in this way?
- Typical for Ernest Hemingway's writing is his ability to express essential matters in very few words. Read the text closely, and give some examples. What effect does this technique have on the reader?
- If you read about his personal background, do you think there is anything in his life that inspired this minimalistic style?
- Poets are often obliged to use a concise writing style. How does this text differ from a poem?
- The story has many common features with a blog. What is similar and what is different?
About Point of View
- What is Hemingway's point of view in "Indian Camp"? How do you think a different point of view would have changed the story?
- How would the story differ if the story was narrated by Nick's father or Uncle George?
- Choose one paragraph and rewrite it by replacing the point of view. Does it make the story more interesting?
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