English Essay – Indian Camp
English Essay – Indian Camp The transition from child to adult can be a rough process. At times a radical experience has to occur for the change to happen. A meeting with the basic conditions of life, and with that the circle of life, can in many cases be a trigger for the transition from boy to man. In this short story the transition is linked to the dichotomy between civilisation and nature, civilisation dominating nature. In the short story “Indian Camp” by Ernest Hemingway, there is a case where a boy meets a natural environment.
The result is that a feeling of superiority towards nature is created. The author of the text focuses on what impact seeing life and death can have on a child’s mind. The meeting with life and death is seen as a contributor to gaining adulthood. The author portrays a boy’s development as resulting from a strong experience. The short story is structured as a fairy tale with a home-out-home structure. With that is meant that he starts in a comfortable place and then goes on a journey and then returns. In the text the comfortable place is the boat and the journey is to the island were the Indians live.
In that way Nick starts out as one person, and after the journey learns something that makes him a different person. In a way the structure underlines the theme, because it helps you focusing on the change. The boy named Nick starts his development toward adulthood in the text. He begins as a fragile boy who depends on his father and ends up as an independent and confident young man. The transition can be seen in many differences in Nick in the start and the ending of the text. In the beginning he relies on the support of his father where in the end he is fine by himself. “Nick lay back with his father’s arm around him. …. “They were seated in the boat. Nick in the stern, his father rowing” In the short story Nick comes to terms with the circle of life. He experiences both life and death, which makes him grow up. To understand life you need to have seen death. In addition to that, Nick also gets the picture of civilisation dominating nature. That is shown through the father who actually changes the course of two persons’ lives. The Indian woman and the unborn child would have died if it had not been for his father. Therefore his father acquires a godlike status, which leads to the ambiguous ending: He felt quite sure that he would never die” It is not clear whether “he” refers to Nick or to the father. It might be both of them, assuming that Nick has understood how you can dominate nature. As previously mentioned, the ending reveals some changes between before and after the experience. The ending shows that Nick develops an understanding of life and death. A difference in the environment is that they arrive in the evening and return in the morning. It can be interpreted as if the evening represents the ending of his childhood and the morning the start of his adulthood.
Also, the night is related to nature, and with that the events in the Indian camp. When the sun rises and the light breaks through they return to civilisation. In that way civilisation is linked to light. The night and day theme underlines the change from a naive boy’s lack of understanding to a young man coming to terms with the basics of life and civilisation. In addition, we see a change in the environment. It starts off as gloomy and finishes as something harmonious. “The two boats started off in the dark. Nick heard the oarlocks of the other boat quite a way ahead of them in the mist. …. “ The sun was coming up over the hills. A bass jumped, making a circle in the water. ” The change in the environment is an indicator of what lies ahead. The evening environment symbolises death and the unknown. The morning represents an entrance to adulthood. The bass making a circle in the water is a symbol of the circle of life. Nick sees the circle in the end of the text, and that is sign of him now having seen and possibly understood life and death. “A bass jumped, making a circle in the water. ” The circle of life is depicted in two ways.
On the one hand, the baby’s birth and the dad’s death form parts of the circle of life. When someone is born somebody else dies. On the other hand we see that when the baby enters the world, and with that the early stages of life, Nick leaves the early stages of life. This means that the circle also says that when somebody enters a new stage of life somebody else leaves it, exemplified by the new-born baby and Nick. The short story is set among the “savages”, which is a perfect place to understand the natural order of life. It takes place in an Indian village and in that way shows nature as pure as it is.
The transition from boy to man, and with that the understanding of life, has to be seen in an environment that underlines the basic conditions of life. With that the author actually says that to understand how nature functions you have to leave the normal civilised life. To sum up, the author manages to describe the transition from boy to man as a result of meeting the circle of life. Furthermore, he problematizes civilised society and thus shows that you cannot understand the true nature of civilisation without seeing its opposite; nature.