The narrative of "Indian Camp" involves the initiation of Nick Adams into the world of adults as he accompanies his physician father to an Indian camp where Dr. Adams performs a Cesarean section since the woman has been unable to deliver after two days, and the husband of the woman insanely slits his throat in the bunk about her.
After these momentous events, while wondering where his Uncle George has gone, Nick asks his father why the man has killed himself. Knowing that Uncle George has been emotionally affected by the events of the visit to the Indian camp, the father merely tells his son, "He'll turn up all right" because he does not wish to cause his son further consternation.
Nick's greatest curiosity is existential: he wonders about life and death, both of which he has witnessed. Although now separated from his childish innocence, Nick yet does not fully comprehend the brutality of life and death as he is somehwat insolated by his father,
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.
Clearly, the young Nick Adams, secure in the love of his father, cannot fully grasp the harsh reality of what he has experienced, retreating instead into the comfort of his father's protection.