Hemingway on modern men

He was a boy about sixteen. He came in with no hat on and was very excited and frightened but determined. He was curly haired and well built and his lips were prominent.
“What’s the matter with you, son?” Doctor Wilcox asked him.
“I want to be castrated,” the boy said.
“Why?” Doc Fischer asked.
“I’ve prayed and I’ve done everything and nothing helps.”
“Helps what?”
“That awful lust.”
“What awful lust?”
“The way I get. The way I can’t stop getting. I pray all night about it.”
“Just what happens?” Doc Fischer asked.
The boy told him. “Listen, boy,” Doc Fischer said. “There’s nothing wrong with you. That’s the way you’re supposed to be. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
“It is wrong,” said the boy. “It’s a sin against purity. It’s a sin against our Lord and Saviour.”
“No,” said Doc Fisher. “It’s a natural thing. It’s the way you are supposed to be and later on you will think you are very fortunate.”
“Oh, you don’t understand,” the boy said.
“Listen,” Doc Fischer said and he told the boy certain things.
“No. I won’t listen. You can’t make me listen.”
“Please listen,” Doc Fischer said.
“You’re just a goddamned fool,” Doctor Wilcox said to the boy.
“Then you won’t do it?” the boy asked.
“Do what?”
“Castrate me.”
“Listen,” Doc Fischer said. “No one will castrate you. There is nothing wrong with your body. You have a fine body and you must not think about that. If you are religious remember that what you complain of is no sinful state but the means of consummating a sacrament.”
“I can’t stop it happening,” the boy said. “I pray all night and I pray in the daytime. It is a sin, a constant sin against purity.”
“Oh, go and—” Doctor Wilcox said.
“When you talk like that I don’t hear you,” the boy said with dignity to Doctor Wilcox. “Won’t you please do it?” he asked Doc Fischer.
“No,” said Doc Fischer. “I’ve told you, boy.”
“Get him out of here,” Doctor Wilcox said.
“I’ll get out,” the boy said. “Don’t touch me. I’ll get out.”
That was about five o’clock on the day before.
“So what happened?” I asked.
“So at one o’clock this morning,” Doc Fischer said, “we receive the youth self-mutilated with a razor.”
“Castrated?”
“No,” said Doc Fisher. “He didn’t know what castrate meant.”
“He may die,” Doctor Wilcox said.
“Why?”
“Loss of blood.”

Full story here.

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