Discrimination Towards The Indians in Ten Indians Short Story

Ten Indians is one of the works of Ernest Hemingway which is a reflection of discrimination on the lives of the Indians who lived in the America that carried out by white Americans. Those Indians are the native residents of the America far before Christopher Columbus discovered the American continent.1 But the reality is the existence of the Indians is increasingly constrained by the existence of white American who always underestimate them. Indirectly through this story, Hemingway wants to show us another side of a white Americans who are  ruthless in the treatment of the Indians. They tortured and murdered the Indians with great cruelty and hatred. The left Indians eventually displaced from their homes and ended up staying in the township which is not deserve to live.2 The other evidence of the wickedness of the people who the majority of the migrants were genocide Indians in the America by European colonizers since 1492.3

At the beginning of the story, Nick together with Garner’s family upon his return from town in the big wagon which is ridden by Joe Garner pass nine Indians who are drunk along the way, then drag one of the Indian who is drunk and unconscious into the bushes. Joe’s action that drags an Indian shows how bad the treatment towards the Indians. Bush is a symbol that the Indians are only fit to live in a bad place, a place that we can find everything bad from it. We can see the expression of their disappointment against injustice and exclusion by white people through the way they celebrate American Independence Day with drunkenness. The Indians here are described as people who are not educated, who can only get drunk on the street. If they are given the opportunity to receive education, they will fight to the Government. This story shows that the Garner family embodies a colonialist mindset and the Indians are drunk and lifeless, one group vocal and dehumanizing, the other silent and marginalized.4

Hemingway’s description of discrimination continues through Mrs. Garner’s character. She says “Them Indians” for a couple of times to clarify her sense of dislikes towards the Indians. Mrs. Garner’s word indicated that the Indians just as the object of their hypocrisy, who only judges the Indians just from the negative side and she wants to show the environment that the Indians are people who do not deserve to be given equal opportunity as same as the white people. In addition to the word “Them Indians” that refers to “Prudence Mitchell”, Nick’s lover, Mrs. Garner implies that Indian women do not deserve a relationship with the white man and Indian woman is a woman who only deserves to fellow Indian only. Prudence Mitchell is the product of the colonial condition, not its redeemer.  Given that her Western name connotes good sense and sexual temperance, Prudence’s supposed infidelity is either ironic or erroneous. Nonetheless, she is a colonial subject, constituted by the white man’s attitudes. Prudence exists only as a constituted subject/object, “disappearing” as an Indian subject when the father removes her from the parameters of the camp and places her in the woods.5

One of the points that most emphasized discrimination against Indians is when Nick wants an answer from his father who said that he saw Prudence Mitchell with Frank Washburn when he was taking a walk in the Indian camp. Nick wants the correct answer from his father. He replied that is true that he had seen Prudence Mitchell with Frank Washburn in the wood, near to the Indian camp this afternoon. He replies as he turns away and gives his back , it indicates that he is lie. He doesn’t want his child establish a relationship with an Indian because Indian women in the view of white people who are women who do not deserve to make a relationship with the white man. The hypocritical character also looks at Nick, he is told by his father that Prudence in a relationship with another man, but he doesn’t  immediately call and ask Prudence whether it is true or not. Nick doesn’t want the circumstances know that he is in a relationship with an Indian woman.

Based on a short story Ten Indians, we can conclude that is correct that Indians being discriminated by the white people. They assume that the Indians are not educated and if they are given the opportunity to get an education, they will fight to the Government, so they don’t need to be given the opportunity. The Indians also used as an object only for a low view of white people towards them and never use as subjects, though these Indians are residents and owners of the American continent. However, they are increasingly being pressured by the presence of white people. Finally their existence slowly shifted to remote area.

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