Indian Camp

by

Ernest Hemingway

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Indian Camp can help.
The Indian woman is the reason for Nick’s father’s trip to the “Indian camp.” She has been in labor for two days and requires medical attention because her child is being born in breech position (meaning bottom instead of head first). She is subjected to great pain throughout the story, both in enduring a complicated childbirth and a surgery without anesthetic. Her screams echo through the camp. In the face of great pain, she demonstrates strength, and is ultimately able to survive the operation, successfully delivering a baby boy with the help of Nick’s father. Her husband, however, commits suicide at some point during the operation.

The Indian Woman Quotes in Indian Camp

The Indian Camp quotes below are all either spoken by The Indian Woman or refer to The Indian Woman. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Birth and Death Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scribner edition of Indian Camp published in 1987.
Indian Camp Quotes

Inside on a wooden bunk lay a young Indian woman. She had been trying to have her baby for two days. All the old women in the camp had been helping her. The men had moved off up the road to sit in the dark and smoke out of range of the noise she made. She screamed just as Nick and the two Indians followed his father and Uncle George into the shanty.

Page Number: 67
Explanation and Analysis:

“Listen to me. What she is going through is called being in labor. The baby wants to be born and she wants it to be born. All her muscles are trying to get the baby born. That is what happening when she screams.”

Related Characters: Nick’s Father (speaker), Nick Adams, The Indian Woman
Page Number: 68
Explanation and Analysis:

“Oh, Daddy, can’t you give her something to make her stop screaming?” asked Nick.

“No. I haven’t any anesthetic,” his father said. “But her screams are not important. I don’t hear them because they are not important.”

Related Characters: Nick Adams (speaker), Nick’s Father (speaker), The Indian Woman
Page Number: 68
Explanation and Analysis:

Later when he started to operate Uncle George and three Indian men held the woman still. She bit Uncle George on the arm and Uncle George said, “Damn squaw bitch!” and the young Indian who had rowed Uncle George over laughed at him.

Related Characters: Uncle George (speaker), The Indian Woman
Page Number: 68
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Indian Camp LitChart as a printable PDF.
Indian Camp PDF

The Indian Woman Character Timeline in Indian Camp

The timeline below shows where the character The Indian Woman appears in Indian Camp. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Indian Camp
Birth and Death Theme Icon
Masculinity Theme Icon
Inside the shanty, a young Indian woman lies on a wooden bunk. The woman is in her second day of labor. The... (full context)
Birth and Death Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Masculinity Theme Icon
Nick’s father orders water to be boiled. He turns to Nick and explains that the Indian woman is going to have a baby. When Nick replies that he knows, his father argues... (full context)
Masculinity Theme Icon
Cross-Cultural Encounters  Theme Icon
...a Caesarian section to deliver the baby. Uncle George and three Native American men hold the Indian woman down. During the operation, the mother bites Uncle George, causing him to yell “damn squaw... (full context)
Birth and Death Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Masculinity Theme Icon
Cross-Cultural Encounters  Theme Icon
The mother is exhausted following the surgery; her eyes are closed, she’s pale, and doesn’t know if... (full context)