Describe the relationship between Nick and his doctor dad in Hemingway's "Indian Camp." I need some adjectives.

Nick is an elementary-school-aged child. His relationship with his father is one of being protected and secure in his presence. Nick watches his father carefully, and when the situation turns dire, he stops watching but feels secure anyway because of his trust in his father.

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In this story, Nick appears to be an elementary-school-aged child, though we are never told his age. His relationship is one of looking up to his father and feeling safe and secure in his presence, even after witnessing some terrible sights.

Nick goes with his father, a doctor, to an Indian camp where the father has been called to help with a difficult childbirth. When he hears the woman in labor screaming, Nick looks to his father to solve the problem, suggesting that his father is a capable and competent parent:

"Oh, Daddy, can't you give her something to make her stop screaming?" asked Nick.

When his father says the screaming is not important and that he doesn't have a painkiller, Nick accepts that.

Like many children, Nick is carefully observant of everything his father does:

Nick watched his father's hands scrubbing each other with the soap.

However, as the situation turns dire and the father must do a C-section with a jack-knife, Nick is troubled enough to stop watching. When his father asks if he wants to watch him putting in the stitches, we learn that:

Nick did not watch. His curiosity had been gone for a long time.

The episode, including seeing the dead body of the pregnant woman's husband, who kills himself by cutting his throat, is clearly disturbing to Nick, but his trust in his father gives him a sense of being protected and secure:

In the early morning on the lake sitting in the stern of the boat with his father rowing, he felt quite sure that he would never die.

Nick has a good relationship with his father. His father is attentive to him and explains things to him, trying to give honest answers to the questions he asks. It seems that Nick is being raised with a good foundation for facing adulthood.

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In “Indian Camp” by Ernest Hemingway, the relationship between Nick and his father, the doctor who is called to the Indian Camp to help deliver a baby, is loving. From the first sentences, it is clear that his father is protective of Nick. Specifically, when they first get into the boat, “Nick lay back with his father's arm around him. It was cold on the water.” His father is both warming and protecting Nick. It is a tender gesture from the father. Once inside the shanty where the pregnant woman is, the father explains:

"This lady is going to have a baby, Nick,' he said.

'I know,' said Nick.

'You don't know,' said his father. 'Listen to me.”

The father is patient and also wants to be instructive. He wants Nick to understand why they are there. His father addresses Nick so that Nick can learn from this experience. Once the baby has been born, his father asks, “'See, it's a boy, Nick…How do you like being an intern?”

Although Nick’s dad seems to be training him, perhaps for a career in medicine himself, he also understands that there might be things that Nick cannot handle yet at his young age. As he prepares to stitch the woman’s wound, he tells Nick that it’s alright if he does not watch. Thus, his father is also understanding and mindful of Nick’s youth and sensitive to his feelings.

After they discover that the baby’s father has slit his throat, Nick’s father immediately says, “Take Nick out of the shanty, George.” He does not want Nick to see the dead father. He wants to be protective of him and shield him.

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Much of what makes Indian Camp such an interesting story is what is left out of it. Based on the events of the story, one would have to call Nick "trusting," or "obedient," although the story works to question that trust. Take for instance the brief moment in which the father explains to Nick what they are doing:

"Where are we going, Dad?" Nick asked.

"Over to the Indian camp. There is a lady there very sick."

"Oh," said Nick.

That "oh" expresses a lot about their relationship. Nick's acceptance of what they are doing does not, however, serve to explain what his father's motivation in bringing his son along on this trip might be. Nick does not question, either, the presence of Uncle Billy. For him, the decisions the adults make form the basis for his experience. Nick's neutrality matches that of the narrator, who simply gives the facts of the matter and leaves character motivations, particularly the father's, open to speculation.

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1. Nick's relationship with his dad is compliant. Nick follows his dad seemingly without argument to a remote Indian camp to assist his father in a difficult delivery.  From Nick's questions, readers infer that Nick went along with his dad before even knowing what their mission was, and from Nick's lack of excitement when his dad answers his question, Hemingway demonstrates that Nick is used to simply going along with this dad.

2. Their relationship is also a typical father-son relationship.  Nick's father becomes so engrossed in his difficult task that he forgets that his young son is witnessing the quite horrific events, but when he does come down from his adrenaline rush from successfully delivering the child, he realizes that Nick is not doing so well and attempts in his own way to comfort him.

3. Finally the father-son relationship is honest.  Nick obviously feels comfortable enough to ask his dad anything (i.e., after the Indian husband's suicide, he asks his father if dying is hard), and Nick's dad thoughtfully offers concise but honest answers.

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