Study Guide

Indian Camp Suffering

By Ernest Hemingway

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Suffering can mean pretty much anything, and "Indian Camp" gives us about as many kinds of suffering as you can get. The first distinction we might make is between physical and mental suffering, which in "Indian Camp" becomes gendered through the physical pain of the Indian woman and the (presumed) mental turmoil of her suicidal husband. Because it's gendered, suffering can almost be likened to a weakness: Men aren't supposed to show their suffering (that's something women do, with all the screaming and whatnot), so it doesn't manifest itself until—well, until it's too late to do anything about it.

Questions About Suffering

  1. What is the relationship between suffering and death in the story?
  2. Is there an implicit lesson about suffering in the story? What exactly are we being shown about suffering?
  3. Is it necessary to read suffering in the story as gendered?

Chew on This

In the story, suffering can be turned away from—by looking away or refusing to acknowledge it.

In the story, suffering is unavoidable.

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