The main character in the short story “Ten Indians” by Ernest Hemingway is Nick, but there are also several other important characters. In what follows, we will help you characterize Nick, his father, and the Garner fami…



Nick is the main character in “Ten Indians” and also a recurring character in several short stories written by Ernest Hemingway. These stories are loosely based on Hemingway’s own experiences as a young man.

At the time of the narrative in “Ten Indians”, Nick is most likely a teenager, which can be deduced from the way he relates to his father, from his manners, and from the way he copes with the information he finds out about Prudence. You might have also noticed that the young man’s outer characterization is not provided, the only thing we know being the fact that he lives with his father and that he has a Native American girlfriend.

Inner characterization

Nick’s inner characterization reveals that he is a gentle young man who is rather shy about his relationship with a Native American girl. When the two Garner boys tease him about having Prudence Mitchell as a girlfriend, Nick’s initial reaction is to deny it so as they leave him alone. Note, however, that the boy is also proud to be teased, which suggests that he loves the girl:

‘Have you got an Indian girl, Nickie?’ Joe asked.
‘He has too, Pa,’ Frank said. ‘Prudence Mitchell’s his girl.’
‘She’s not.’
‘He goes to see her every day.’
‘I don’t.’ Nick, sitting between the two boys in the dark, felt hollow and …


Nick’s father

Nick’s father is an important character in the story, as he is the one who tells Nick that his girlfriend was unfaithful. The man’s outer characterization is not given; the only thing readers find out about him is that he lives with his son and that he enjoys fishing.

Inner characterization

The man’s inner characterization becomes apparent as soon as he interacts with Nick. He is attentive and kind with his son and seems genuinely interested in finding out how Nick’s day was:

‘Well, Nickie,’ his father said, ‘was it a good day?’
‘I had a swell time. Dad. It was a swell Fourth of July.’
‘Are you hungry?’
‘You bet.’ (ll. 106-109)

His love for Nick becomes obvious when he addresses the young man as “Nickie” (l. 106) and when he gives him dinner in the …


The Garners

The Garners are an important collective character in the story because they represent white Americans’ discrimination against Native Americans. Their outer characterization reveals that they are a family of four, that they own a wagon, and that they live in a farmhouse.

Inner characterization

When it comes to their inner characterization, you will notice that each of the Garner family members displays hatred and discriminates against Native Americans.

At first, Joe Garner treats Native Americans like mere objects, which is revealed by the way he drags a drunken Native American out of…

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