In Our Time Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 64 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of In Our Time.
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Death, most often violent death, is omnipresent in In Our Time. The major theme centers on the ways in which death is interwoven with life, and the necessity of confrontation with the fact of death. In "Indian Camp," the story which presents Nick's earliest existential collision at a crucial intersection of life and death, young Nick accompanies his doctor-father when he is summoned for an emergency delivery of a baby at the Indian camp. Under difficult and primitive conditions, Nick's father successfully delivers the baby.

Simultaneous with the birth, the ostensible father of the baby commits suicide. This action is followed by a compellingly rendered dialogue between father and son, as they leave the Indian camp. Nick asks a telling sequence of questions, among them: "Why did he kill himself, Daddy?" and "Do many men kill themselves, Daddy?" and "Do many women?" His father's answers are vague, evasive perhaps...

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This section contains 950 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the In Our Time Study Guide
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