Nick Adams 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, however, is describe through masculine eyes, and therefore is more about the father's development than it is about Nick's or the Indian woman. .
As soon as the story begins we are aware of Nick's father's development. He is there on a mission. He 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. Does this show Nick's father as a misogynist? I don't think so; however I do think that it shows him as selfish. Nick's father thinks he is all-knowing and that he has the answers to help his son grow. The irony comes at the end of the story when Nick's father looses all control over the situation, and realizes that he doesn't have the answers. .
We get the first insight into Nick's father's development when he tells Nick that he doesn't have any anesthetic. "But her screams are not important" (16), he says to Nick. Although Nick's father is there to save this woman, she is not important. The only thing that is important to the father is that he fulfills his duties as a doctor and that he proves that he is a real man. This is where the father's personality contradicts itself. If he wanted to prove that he was a successful doctor and man, he should have made the woman as comfortable as possible and performed his duties while explaining the process to his son. Instead, the way he goes about taking care of the woman is almost barbaric. "Later when he started to operate Uncle George and three Indian men held the woman still" (17).