An Analysis of Suffering in Indian Camp by Ernest Hemingway and Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin

In many instances works of literature depict reality circumstances whether it be physical, psychological or psychological issues. People all experience some form of suffering in their lives. Works of literature use the theme of suffering to depict how people suffer in their own way and how they react to their suffering. Authors like James Baldwin and Ernest Hemingway use the style of suffering to add reasonable situations and drama to their short stories to connect to the readers.

In James Baldwin’s short story “Sonny’s Blues,” the story is about a young jazz artist called Sonny who battles his addiction to heroin. His story and his discomfort are described to us from his brother’s point of view, who is the narrator. In the start, we discover that Sonny was apprehended for using and selling drugs and then in the future when he is released from jail, he relocates with the narrator and his family in Harlem, New York City. Through the narrator’s viewpoint, we can understand the different forms of suffering throughout this story.

A lot of the characters in the story suffer in their own method. Obviously, the main concern in this piece is drug dependency, but also the problems of grief, hardship and limited opportunities in life are evident. Some of the characters try to eliminate to escape their suffering while others accept their pain.

Sonny suffers in various methods but the most obvious one is his drug dependency. According to the storyteller, Sonny began utilizing heroine when he was just in high school. Presently, the narrator is a high school teacher. He says, “I made sure that the very first time Sonny had ever had [heroine], he could not have actually been older than these kids were now” (265 ). Growing up in Harlem contributed in the start of Sonny’s usage of heroin– poverty is everywhere and there is an abundance of drugs. Sonny attempted getting away the suffering he experienced from hardship by leaving Harlem to pursue a music profession but he never ever escaped the hold drugs had on him.

His failure to leave hardship in his teenage years is what led him to drugs– he felt in control when he was utilizing them. He couldn’t control his circumstance of living in a place like Harlem so he utilized heroin to cope. “… what heroin feels like sometimes … warm and cool … it makes you feel– in control. Often you have actually got to have that feeling” (286 ). He goes on to inform his sibling that heroin allowed him to stand the anguish he suffered living in Harlem. He further discusses how he seemed like he had control of his life when he was under the influence: “No, there’s no way not to suffer. But you attempt all sort of ways to keep from drowning in it, to continue top of it, and to make it seem– well, like you …” (287 ). He thought that the suffering he sustained from heroine was only because he selected to suffer, unlike the suffering he withstood living in Harlem which was not in his control.

Sonny likewise experienced remaining in prison and knowing that he harmed his household. After he received a letter from his bro while he was in jail, Sonny composed back saying, “You don’t understand how much I required to speak with you. I wanted to compose you numerous a time but I dug how much I need to have injured you and so I didn’t write” (269 ). Jail was causing him psychological and psychological suffering but he didn’t connect to his sibling since he was suffering over the guilt of upsetting him with his drug addiction. The pain of understanding he let his sibling down affected his choice to not connect even if he required family support when he was at his most affordable.

Besides Sonny, the storyteller is likewise suffering but in a various method; he is struggling with grief. After finding out that Sonny got jailed for using and selling drugs, the narrator was in shock. “A great block of ice got settled in my tummy and kept melting there slowly all day long, while I taught my classes algebra. It was a special kind of ice … In some cases it solidified and appeared to expand until I felt my guts were going to come spilling out or that I was going to choke or scream” (264 ). The narrator is suffering quietly, not able to express his feelings. He doesn’t fall apart, as if he understood this would happen eventually because of his sibling’s circumstance. The narrator is mad– upset at what Harlem did to his brother, mad at what his bro keeps doing to himself and mad at anyone who knew Sonny prior to he left Harlem. He runs into somebody who was an old friend of Sonny. That old good friend is likewise an addict. For a brief minute the guy looked like Sonny to the storyteller up until he realized it wasn’t him however that he also advised him of Sonny. The narrator has a strong feeling of hate towards Sonny’s old buddy since of how his circumstance resembles Sonny’s. The storyteller talks with him about Sonny and what will occur to him after prison. When he will leave the male, the man asks for some cash and the narrator understands what he’ll be utilizing it for so he feels understanding and compassionate. “All at once something inside gave and threatened to come putting out of me. I didn’t dislike him anymore. I felt that in another moment I ‘d start weeping like a child” (268 ). He doesn’t dislike the male any longer however practically physically reveals his sorrow over him and Sonny and what their lives have become. Seeing the guy offers him memories of his bro before he left Harlem.

Another instance of suffering in the story which isn’t actually spoke about is the suffering the boys maturing in Harlem need to sustain. Their chances to try to leave the harsh life of Harlem are minimal. The narrator compares their circumstance to his and Sonny’s scenario maturing in Harlem. “These kids, now, were living as we ‘d been living then, they were maturing with a rush and their heads bumped quickly against the low ceiling of their actual possibilities” (265 ). The boys understand they don’t have much of a chance to make a change to their lives, to conquer the barriers blocking them from achieving success and to alter the situations they are in.

Suffering is revealed in different methods this story. Some are in fact handling their kind of suffering straight while others aren’t. In either case, suffering is present in all of their lives, and will impact them whether they acknowledge it or not.

In Ernest Hemingway’s narrative “Indian Camp,” a young kid named Nick goes to an American Indian camp on the other side of the lake with his daddy, who is a medical professional, and his Uncle George. His daddy was called to help provide a child of an American Indian lady who has actually been in labor for the previous 2 days. She is in pain and Nick views as the scenario unfolds in front of his eyes.

The theme of suffering appears in this story and the suffering by two of the characters is caused by the unborn baby itself. There are both physical and mental suffering and each character deals with the discomfort in their own way.

The Indian woman is suffering from the physical pain of being in uncomfortable labor for two days. She has been yelling for days and the physician was not able to stop her shouting because he doesn’t have any anesthetic. The Indian female goes through more physical pain when the doctor began running on her without the right surgical materials. The physician happily specifies how he did the operation: “… a Caesarian with a jackknife and stitching it up with nine-foot, tapered gut leaders” (481 ). She is unable to control her suffering but she does attempt to cope with it when Uncle George is next to her. She bit on his arm when she was being held down by him and three other Indian males while the physician operated on her.

The Indian woman’s other half is struggling with the mental discomfort of witnessing his wife going through labor. The husband is suffering from shame– the reality that his partner was impregnated by another male, not to mention a white man. He is likewise suffering from the physical pain from when he had actually cut his foot severely with an axe. Listening to his other half yell in discomfort was also triggering his suffering since he could not escape her weeps and he knows the only reason why she remains in this scenario is since of Uncle George. The spouse is in mental discomfort when Nick asks his father to make her stop screaming the medical professional responds with “… her screams are not important. I don’t hear them since they are trivial” (480 ). As soon as he stated that, the hubby “rolled over against the wall” (480 ). He is likewise struggling with the psychological oppression from the white guys and from the reality that the doctor does not consider his partner’s physical discomfort as important. In society, guys aren’t supposed to expose their weaknesses and show that they are suffering. So, the hubby silently takes the mental pain he is enduring which eventually results in his suicide.

At the end of the story, Nicks asks his father about the Indian lady’s other half. He asks, “Why did he kill himself, Daddy?” to which the father responded, “I don’t know, Nick. He could not stand things, I guess” (481 ). Nick’s dad knows that the Indian male couldn’t bare to stand his psychological pain a lot longer so he dedicated suicide as a method to handle his suffering.

Both characters deal with their suffering in various methods. Gender has a role in how both the Indian man and Indian woman pick to deal with their discomfort. Suffering can be linked to weakness which is why the Indian guy did not express himself in any method. Instead, he stayed in his spot on the bed, resting until he couldn’t take it anymore. The Indian female nevertheless did reveal herself and since she is a female, her signs of weakness were considered as typical.

Suffering is a state of physical, psychological or psychological discomfort that is inevitable. How someone picks to handle their suffering is what identifies whether or not a person is able to overcome their issues. Both James Baldwin and Ernest Hemingway remarkably use the style of suffering to represent how it affects various individuals in different circumstances.