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Indian Camp

Indian Camp

by Ernest Hemingway

Analysis: What's Up With the Title?

Let's think of some of the other titles Hemingway might have come up with: "Nick and His Father Go on an Awkward Boat Ride"; "Parenting Gone Awry"; "How I Learned About Childbirth and Suicide"; "The Worst Bring-Your-Kid-to-Work Day Ever." All right, all right… coming up with titles isn't exactly our strong suit. Our point, though, is that there are a lot of different angles that Hemingway could have taken. He chose as seemingly innocuous a title as possible, though. "Indian Camp," on the most basic level, tells us where the story transpires.

One of the things you might notice is that Hemingway uses the word "Indian," which is a word that has lost most of its political correctness. It's easy to say that in Hemingway's day things were different (and they definitely were), but we could also explore this idea and say that "Indian Camp" possibly evokes a place of childhood adventures. Though Hemingway lived before the days of John Wayne movies and Tonto and the Lone Ranger, you can still imagine young children like Hemingway playing cowboys-and-Indians type games, or running through the woods imagining that they're the last of the Mohicans or something. So the idea of going over to the Indian camp might seem like a really exciting prospect for a child; it has a ring of adventure to it.

But, instead of a fantastic adventure, we get a harsh dose of reality. Considering that this is a story at least partially about leaving behind the innocence of childhood once the real world rears its sometimes-unpleasant head, the idea is fitting.

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