Many believe that a person's character and integrity lie deep within, dating back to what was seen as a child and how they were brought up. Keeping this in mind, I read Indian Camp for the first time. After completing the story, my hopes of the kind of man Nick Adams would grow to be began to dwindle because whether you are only a little child or even a grown man, the matter of witnessing a death is not one that can be dealt with easily. What worried me the most was the fact that the Indian man's suicide was a memory that would haunt Nick for the rest of his life---a fact held true by Hemingway, as is seen throughout the entire book.
Though the particular incident of the Indian man's suicide is not incessantly brought up during the duration of each short story, the issue of death is a recurring theme. As seen in the very first story, Three Shots, the very young character of Nick Adams contemplates death and is clearly frightened of it more than anything else in the world at that time. After pondering the inevitable for what seems like an eternity in the dark woods all alone, Nick fires three shots into the night sky---the signal for his father and uncle to come back in case of an emergency. The reassurance that his father is coming and that he will no longer be alone brings comfort to the young Nick, enough so that he is fast asleep upon the quick return of his father and uncle.
The next day, as chronicled in the story Indian Camp, Nick is taken with his father to perform surgery on an Indian woman who has difficulty in delivering her baby. While many may argue that birth, the creation of life, is a wonderful and absolutely beautiful thing, I cannot reason how it would be a pleasant experience for a young boy like Nick. As if the observation of a horrendous nativity was not enough for poor Nick Adams" eyes, his father's discovery of the husband's suicide, in which a razor was used to cut the man's throat from ear to ear, was sure to burn an image in his mind that would haunt him for the rest of his life despite the poise of his father's answers on death.