Comparing the Role of Women in Indian Camp and Shiloh

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Role of Women in Indian Camp and Shiloh The women of "Indian Camp" experience a life much different from the woman in "Shiloh." Ernest Hemingway wrote "Indian Camp" giving the women a definite role in their families while Bobbi Ann Mason wrote "Shiloh" leaving the woman’s definite family role ambiguous. Because they are responsible for the birth of the babies, the Native American women of the preceding story are the nurturers as opposed to the men. The women accept their roles and partake in their duties without any protest. On the other hand, Norma Jean’s role is not as traditional compared to the other women’s since she and Leroy have no children, she basically lives alone, and she maintains a job. While the Native American women and Norma Jean live different lives, they share the same problem of enduring the men’s ignorance to their needs. However, as the story progresses, Norma Jean realizes she wants to move on in her life, so she does not accept her situation. The Native American women continue their lifestyle not because they choose to be submissive, but because they know no other way. The women of the two stories lead totally different lives in that the Native American women accept their situation, assume submissive behavior, and endure the ignorance of men, while Norma Jean does not accept her situation, assumes assertive behavior, and does not put up with the ignorance of her husband. Not being exposed to Norma Jean’s independent way of life, the Native American women accept their lives of nurturing and care taking. The doctor’s visit to the Indian camp shows only women helping with the delivery of the baby. As they help the doctor, the men sit up the road away from all the commotion. No signs of resent... ... middle of paper ... ...ver the period of his absence, Norma Jean develops into a stronger person from being on her own. Having Leroy home makes her realize she needs to move on and employs her assertiveness to get out of the situation. Although they remain loyal to their duties through all of the drudgery, the Native American women are strong because they lead a very important role in the family. Norma Jean also proves herself to be strong as she leaves her husband to move on to achieve more in her life. The women share different experiences, but they all exhibit strength in being the way they want to be. Works Cited Hemingway, Ernest. "Indian Camp." In Out Time. New York, Scribner’s, 1955. 16,17. Mason, Bobbi Ann. "Shiloh." Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Sixth edition. Eds. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. New York: Harper Collins, 1995. 495, 496, 500.

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