Ernest Hemingway's Uses Of Weakness And Survival

1189 words - 5 pages

Ernest Hemingway's Uses of Weakness and Survival
Ernest Hemingway is one of the most recognized writers of the twentith century. In World War I, Hemingway drove ambulances for the Red Cross, and was seriously wounded. Hemingway was rejected by his mother, and felt forced to move away from home. These experiences had a profound emotional impact on him and his writings. As a result, Hemingway's protagonists fulfill the heroic ideal of naturalistic views; and contrasts the weakness and survival of the men as seen in "Indian Camp", "Snows of Kilimajaro" and "The Short, Happy Life of Francis Macomber." Whereas, in "Indian Camp", Hemingway shows how Nick can endure the pain of childbirth, while the Indian father is weak and can not survive. Hemingway believes that "Only the strong survive," (Hughes 128). Hemingway is not primarily interested in the shocking childbirth, but he is interested in its effect on Nick, who witnessed it. Thus, "Indian Camp" exhibits weakness and survival through the personalities and death of the characters. The story tells about what Hemingway is up to for his writing career. Nick's father delivers an Indian woman's baby by Caesarean section, with a jackknife and without anesthesia. Therefore, weakness is shown by the Indian father who is "to weak to stand the childbirth of his wife" (Young 40). The Indian father obviously has not experienced many hardships throughout his life. As a result of the pain his wife experiences, it is ultimately too much for the father to bare. He finally decides to kill himself. When the delivery is over Nick's father looks on the top bunk and discovers the husband laying there with his head nearly cut off with a razor. The husband could not stand the wife screaming while having the baby. Brady 2 In "Indian Camp," Nick and his father show survival of death. Hemingway uses Nick to play the tough guy and the hero that can endure the pain and survive without giving into weakness. By Nick and his father discussing death, it shows that Hemingway thought: From a purely aesthetic point of view it is perfectly irrelevant, but from a human and biographical point of view perfectly unavoidable, to remark the uncanny fact that the originals of both these characters, making their first appearances here as a doctor and son, were destined to destroy themselves. (Young 41) Nick and his father discuss death with each other after the incident because Nick had a few questions to ask. Furthermore, in "The Snows Of Kilimanjaro," Harry, the central character, is lying ill on an African plain where he is dying. Harry realizes that he is dying, but he has no patience with the efforts of his surviving wife to reassure him. Hemingway believed, "You died when there was no more to be said…" (Hughes 129). The dying man is called a coward by his wife because he does not want to move. She is accusing him of accepting the end too tranquilly. She wants him to...

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