Study Guide

Indian Camp

Indian Camp Summary

A boy named Nick goes on a Take Your Child to Work Day with his physician dad to an Indian camp to help a woman in labor. During the birth the woman's husband smokes silently on the top bunk of the bed, while Nick's father calmly explains to a mildly freaked out Nick why the woman is screaming. After operating on the woman and delivering the baby, Nick's father is proud of his work—that, is, until he realizes that the husband in the top bunk has slit his own throat (for which Nick has a front row seat). As they leave the camp, Nick asks his father questions about suicide and death, and feels certain that he himself will never die.

  • Indian Camp Summary

    • Nick, his doctor father, and Uncle George travel by boat to an Indian camp, where a woman has been having a difficult time in labor for the past two days.
    • When they get there the woman is screaming on the lower bunk of a bed, while her husband smokes silently on the top bunk and rolls over like he's annoyed with the noise.
    • Nick's father explains to Nick that the woman is having a baby, and acts all stoic in the face of her agony. Meanwhile, Nick is pretty uneasy about the whole thing and looks away. We feel you, Nick.
    • Nick's father operates on the woman without any anesthetic while three men hold her down. In the process she bites Uncle George. Ouch all around.
    • Nick's father delivers the baby and stitches up the wound. Afterward the woman is unconscious and pale, and unaware of anything.
    • Nick's father, proud of what he just did, goes to check on the husband in the top bunk. He pulls back the blanket to reveal that the man has slit his own throat with a razor. Well that's a bummer.
    • He tries to usher Nick out of the room, but not before Nick sees everything, front and center.
    • On the awkward boat ride home, Nick's father apologizes to Nick for bringing him along. In terms of awkward conversations you can have with your parents, this one sets the bar pretty high.
    • Nick asks his father whether men and women kill themselves often, and his father replies that not many people do.
    • Nick then asks if dying is hard, and his father answers that he thinks it's pretty easy.
    • As they float across the lake and the sun comes up, Nick feels certain that he will never die.