Essay on Postcolonialism in Ernest Hemingway's "Indian Camp"

1745 WordsNov 29, 20017 Pages
Ernest Hemingway attempts to describe the interactions of white Americans and Native Americans in his short story "Indian Camp." By closely reading this short story using a Postcolonialist approach, a deeper understanding of the colonization and treatment of the Native Americans by the white Americans can be gained. Hemingway uses an almost allegorical story as he exposes the injustices inflicted by the white oppressors through his characters. Through his characters Hemingway expresses the traits of the colonizer and the colonized. Nick embodies innocence, the Doctor represents dismissal or denial, and George represents oppression. The nameless natives in the story juxtapose the white characters highlighting traits such as loss of…show more content…
Hemmingway holds these two actions by the Doctor as representative of the colonizer's mentality. The colonizer would not recognize the cruel harsh reality he was thrusting onto another culture. Egocentric, colonizers viewed themselves as a dominant and superior culture. This notion is crucial to the actions exhibited by the Doctor. He denies that there is anything wrong with the squaw woman and he continues to perform the surgery using mid-evil techniques that he would never exercise upon a white (247). Hemingway uses George as a key character in this story to embody the oppressive traits of the white colonizers. As the three, Nick, George, and the Doctor, first arrive at the camp, George is passing out cigars. This is an awkward implication because it is appropriate for cigars to be passed out at a new birth by a father, but George should not be the father. Although it is never explicitly stated that George is the father of the squaw woman's child, it is heavily implied. While the woman is in labor George is pacing back and forth in angst instead of the Native American man who is supposedly the father-to-be. The Doctor makes a reference to the squaw woman's husband when he says, "Ought to have a look at the proud father. They're usually the worst sufferers in these little affairs" (241). The irony of this statement is that he is not the father, and that is why he is not participating in the birth or agonizing over her
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