Characters

The most important characters in Ernest Hemingway’s short story “Indian Camp” are Nick, his father and to some extent Nick’s Uncle George.

Nick is the main character and the one whose point of view we see things through. We never learn his exact age, but he is probably no older than 12 since he calls his father “daddy” and seems a bit naive. Throughout the story, he is forced to witness a violent childbirth and a suicide which means that he indirectly goes through an initiation process. 

Nick’s father is a doctor and enters the camp of the Native Americans with all the authority and confidence of a well-educated, white man. To him, the woman in labor is merely a medical case, not a person, and his professional enthusiasm ends up affecting particularly Nick’s life. 

Nick’s Uncle George is a secondary character and mysteriously absent at the end of the story. None of the Native Americans seem to like him. As opposed to his brother, the woman in labor (who bites him) is not a medical case but a “damn squaw bitch”, which portrays Uncle George as fairly racist and sexist.