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Indian Camp

Indian Camp

  

by Ernest Hemingway

Analysis: Tone

Take a story's temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful? Cynical? Snarky? Playful?

Tense, Sobering

Oh yeah, things are definitely tense in "Indian Camp." Parental demands, harrowing births, previously-unknown communities—and that's just the first half of the story. We get the sense that Nick can think of a hundred other ways he'd rather be spending his time than watching a Caesarian operation (or more like trying not to watch it), and that he doesn't really like seeing the hard-hearted side of his father.

The second half is when all the tension of the first half finally boils over, and what we're left with are the sobering remains of what was supposed to be just another Bring-Your-Kid-to-Work Day. To clarify, sobering in this case refers to the realization that what we thought was happening is in fact not at all what was happening, which is exactly the case for "Indian Camp." While everyone was all caught up in the birth, the suicide happening in the bunk above slipped in unnoticed. This realization comes with its own set of emotional consequences—defeat, dejection, anxiety—as often happens when we realize that things aren't as they seem.

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