The short story ”Indian Camp” by Ernest Hemingway published in 1924 circles around the themes of growing up and the development from being a child to being an adult through experiences in life. The themes are portrayed through the characters of the story and the characteristic symbolism of Ernest Hemingway within it. Struggling with unknown challenges when growing up is portrayed through the main character Nick, and his development in the short story.
Nick and his father have a close bond, and throughout the story the father involves Nick in the happenings, but at the same time he also tries to shield Nick from the worst harms of life. This is not succeeded though.
In the beginning the father is shielding Nick from the outside world and life. “Nick lay back with his father’s arm around him” (p. 1, l. 6) Having your arm wrapped around someone is both an embracing and protective gesture, and neither of the people in the boats are aware of what might surprise them from the dark and misty surroundings.
Nick’s father is good at involving Nick in the occasions, and he tries his best to explain what is going on, to Nick. “'This lady is going to have a baby, Nick,' he said. 'I know,' said Nick. 'You don't know,' said his father. (And explains).
'I see,' Nick said.” (p. 1, l. 28-32) The father takes his time to involve Nick. Nick admires his father a lot, especially his profession as a doctor. Throughout the story the description of the father switches from ‘father’ to ‘doctor’. “'I'll put some peroxide on that, George,' the doctor said.” (p. 2, l. 29) When the father talks about medical terms, Nick sees him as a doctor, but when Nick asks him questions he refers to him as a father: The authorization versus the father figure.
But everyone can have enough. And that is exactly what happens to Nick. “Nick did not watch. His curiosity had been gone for a long time.” (p. 2, l. 25) In the start of the birth he is very curious and wants to learn from his father, but as the occasion is lacking towards the end, Nick can’t take any more in.
This is also a reference to the earlier line of Nick: “'I see,' Nick said.” (p. 1, l. 32) Nick is chocked and very moved by the events, but he then sees the husband that has killed himself. This makes a huge impact on Nick. “His throat had been cut from ear to ear.
The blood had flowed down into a pool where his body sagged the bunk.” (p. 3, l. 12) The vivid description gives us a clear image of how it affects nick, and this is when he for good falls off the edge to the transition from child to adulthood, which is also greatly portrayed through the symbolism.