"Indian Camp" Characterization

Topics: Gender, Woman, Childbirth Pages: 4 (1438 words) Published: January 27, 2011
”Characterization of the main characters”
“Indian Camp”
Nick followed his father to an Indian camp to witness his father help a women through childbirth. At first glance “Indian Camp” seems to be about a boy’s right of passage experience, as he witnesses a child’s birth. This beautiful feminine act is however described through masculine eyes, and therefore is more about the father’s development than it is about Nick’s or the Indian woman. But this story also unarguably represents an initiation, or a loss of innocence for Nick. When the “young Indian stopped and blew out his lantern”. The literal shift from lightness to darkness signals the metaphorical separation for Nick. He is no longer sitting in his comfort zone. From the beginning of the story, the difference between Nick as a young boy and Nick’s father as a grown man is defined by how they react to the scene of suffering and violence that surrounds them as the young Indian woman painfully struggles during labor. As soon as the story begins we are aware of Nick’s father’s development. He is there on a mission. His purpose is not only to help, but to show his son what he does and to teach him about life. It is almost as if Nick’s father is using the woman and her baby to prove something. He is trying to prove his masculinity to his son, and he wants to show that he has control of the lives of the Indian woman and her baby. Nick’s father acts stern and in control. For example, he “ordered some water to be put on the stove” and makes preparations for the pending operation “carefully and thoroughly”. At the same time explaining the woman’s condition to Nick in a detached, almost scientific and systematic tone. Nick, on the other hand, lacks active conscious knowledge or awareness and is frustrated by the chaos surrounding him. He asks his father where they are going on the way over to the Indian camp. And he responds pleadingly to the woman’s screams “Oh daddy, can’t you give her something to make her stop...
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