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In Our Time Reader Response
"In the early morning on the lake sitting in the stern of the boat with his father rowing, he felt quite sure that he would never die" (19).
The first four readings of In Our Time seem to be primarily focused on the life/death relationship that life presents. After reading the first story, I have to be perfectly honest in saying that I do not believe that I understood all of the underlining themes, but did start to focus more intently when the story describes the women on the pier with the dead babies. Automatically, this imagery made me think of the response passage from this set of reading. Denying oneself that death exists and that it, ultimately, a part of everyone's life seemed to be a common philosophic element that both of the stories possessed. Just as Nick reassured himself that the inevitable would never to him, the women on the pier with their six-day-dead (!) babies that "wouldn't give them up". I think that the connection to Hemingway's life in these elements possibly show or admit the Lost Generation's tendency to deny to themselves that they were susceptible to harm and death. An example of this is the character in Jack Kerouac's novel On the Road tended to lead a free and reckless lifestyle of drugs, partying, and freedom that seemed to have no limits or consequences.
Another example of the life/death relationship that seems to be exemplified in the first four pieces of Hemingway's novel is the conflicts that arise during Indian Camp. Rather than Nick expressing the sole fact that he believes he is not going to die, I believe that, because of his father, he misunderstood the concept of dying. I believe that the passage that stated, "he felt quite sure that he would never die" was essentially a reaction to the pregnant woman's husband's suicide. Because that was the topic that arose during the story, I believe that Nick interpreted the situation that "death" was equal to "suicide" and, in believing that he would never commit suicide, ultimately believes that he will, thus, never die. I also believe that there is significance in the way in which Nick's father spoke to him while performing the C-section on the woman. He said something along the lines of "you can watch this or not" meaning that, even I Nick didn't watch his father perform the surgery, it was still taking place and, thus, just a part or fact of life.
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Lastly, I would like to bring attention to the "Chapter II" passage that stated "there was a women having a kid with a young girl holding a blanket over her and crying. I, once again, think that this shows the life/death relationship because of the circumstances in which the scene is taking place. A military unit is passing through Karagatch observing this woman. The woman giving birth is, of coarse, symbolic of life while the trained killers are symbolic of death.