In Hemingway's short story 'Indian Camp', who are the baby's parents? How old is Nick? Support your answer

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rnewall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The baby's parents both live at the camp; the mother, made delirious by a difficult pregnancy, is a young Indian woman,  who bites Nick's Uncle George on the arm; the father is confined to the hut where the birth takes place, as he is suffering from a self inflicted axe wound to the foot. Their living conditions can be described as extreme poverty.

Nick is young, his diction immature as illustrated by the fact he still calls his father 'Daddy'; Nick is old enough to know the Indian woman is going to have a baby as she 'lay...very big under a quilt' but he is too young to accept her screaming.

The whole experience has been forced upon Nick by his father. It is a misguided attempt to show himself in a good light and perhaps teach Nick the facts of life. It backfires on Dr Adams when the incapacitated father, unable to bear the screaming, slits his own throat, the aftermath of this act witnessed by Nick.

Nick has seen death first hand as an incontrovertible fact. However, moments later, 'sitting in the stern of the boat with his father rowing, he felt quite sure that he would never die'. This image of security makes the young boy quickly recover from the hurt he has suffered. I would suggest that when he is older, the experience will return to haunt him.