Ernest Hemingway Rite Of Passage Analysis

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Ernest Hemingway is known for writing rite of passage stories. His short story Indian Camp is no different. It tells the story of a young boy, Nick, and his father who go to an Indian camp to assist an American Indian woman who has been in labor for three days. After an impromptu cesarean, the Indian woman gives birth but they find her husband on the bunk above her has committed suicide. In this story, Nicks father attempts to put Nick through an initiation by having him assist in the birth of the Indian baby, however, this fails when Nick is approached by the dimness of human life and death. Nick’s father fails in this initiation because his hands did bring a life into the world, but his words disheartened a hurting man who then killed himself. …show more content…
While the point of an initiation is to induct a person into a group, Nick’s father consistently demeans those around him, including Nick. Nicks father tells him "This lady is going to have a baby, Nick." When Nick responds, “I know” his father says, “you don’t know” (47.) Nick’s father establishes that he is the most intelligent. For an initiation to be successful the one conducting it must consider the one being initiated to be an equal, this is not the case with Nick’s father. This means that the initiation was a failure before the cesarean even began. The initiation is a façade, in reality Nick’s father is only showing what a skilled doctor his is. He states that his surgery that day is “one for the medical journal” (118.) The entire endeavor was not to give his son an interest in medicine, or apparently not even to help ease the pain of a new mother being that he brought no anesthetic (58) or proper surgery tools (119,) but to show off that he could complete a difficult surgery with unusual tools.
On top of the fact that Nick’s father belittles Nick, he also belittles the American Indians, which in the end is the final flaw in the rite of passage ritual. When the Indian woman is going through labor, she screams. Nick asks his father to give her something to ease her pain, however, his father states that he brought nothing to ease her pain and "her screams are not important. I don't hear

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