Nick Adams: Nick is the main character, and in many ways is like Hemingway himself. Nick travels into the forests of northern Michigan to find a release from civilization's agonizing bondage. Setting up camp and fishing and cooking by himself, Nick lifts his spirits by creating his own personal utopia.
Hopkins: Nick alludes to Hopkins as he makes coffee, being reminded of his old fishing buddy and oil tycoon, who Hemingway suggests took his own life a few months before, after receiving a disturbing telegram, perhaps about his lover. Hopkins' tragic story is but one example of the suffering and grief Nick hopes to leave behind him.
Big Two-Hearted River: Character Profiles