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In the series of stories about Nick, the character grows up in the Chicago area, vacations in northern Michigan, shares with his doomed father a love for fishing and hunting, participates in World War I, where he is severely wounded, and eventually becomes a writer. All of these echo Hemingway's life. In reference to “Indian Camp” in particular, Hemingway’s family owned a cottage on Waloon Lake in Northern Michigan, and he spent his summers there with his family as a boy and youth. In this story, as in his others, Hemingway seeks to convey vividly and exactly moments of exquisite importance and poignancy, experiences that might be described as “epiphanies.” The experience Nick has in this story, watching his father perform a caesarean birth and the husband of that mother cutting his throat, leads him to such an epiphany concerning the meanings of life and death that the other responders explain.
You don't ask a specific question about Nick's character, so I'll give you the highlights. If you need more information than what I give you, go to the link below for the details.
This story introduces Nick Adams, a young boy, to life and death, the birth of a baby and the death of the baby's father. This is the first "Nick Adams" story by Hemingway. Through this experience, Nick loses his innocent perspective of life. Even though he doesn't completely understand the events, he's now been exposed to the harsh realities of life, something that each of us must experience.
Nick is able to see the differences in the ways the Indians live. The pregnant woman is lying on a wooden bunk in a meager hut. His father is forced to use a knife to get the baby out, and the woman must be held down because there is no pain medicine to give her. The baby is finally born, but while everyone was busy with the baby's birth, the father of the baby cut his throat. On the trip back, Nick comes to the conclusion that he will never die.
Even Nick's name is suggestive to the themes in the story. It refers to Adam, the first man in the Bible, and "old Nick," a name sometimes used for Satan. Through this young boy, the author refers to the good and evil that exist in each of us, discovery and loss, and innocence and experience.
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