Themes and message

The main themes explored by Ernest Hemingway in the short story “Ten Indians” are the theme of racism and discrimination and the theme of disillusionment. The story’s message is a subtle criticism of racist and discriminatory attitud…


Racism and discrimination

The theme of racism and discrimination is illustrated by the way in which the Garners view Native Americans and behave towards them. From the very beginning, it becomes clear that the Garners view Native Americans as no better than animals. This is illustrated by the cold-blooded way in which Joe Garner removes a drunken Native American who stands in the way of his wagon:

‘That makes nine of …



The theme of disillusionment is illustrated by Nick and the way in which he feels after he finds out that his girlfriend has been unfaithful to him. At first, when his father tells him that he has seen Prudence in the woods with another man, Nick is incredulous and insists to know more:

‘What were they doing?’
‘I didn’t stay to find out.’
‘Tell me what they were doing.’
‘I don’t know,’ his father said. ‘I just heard …

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