Analysis for Hunters in the Snow

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Hunters in the snow
The Story
A third-person narrative, “Hunters in the Snow” is the story of three men from Spokane, Washington, who go on a hunting trip. Kenny drives up on the sidewalk where Tub has been waiting for him and Frank for an hour; he would have driven his pickup over Tub if he had not run. They drive out to hunt the same patch of ground they unsuccessfully covered for the past two hunting seasons. The driver’s window of the truck has been broken out, and the wind and snow rush in. Arriving at the site, Tub scouts one side of the river and the two other men take the other. Quickly winded by the effort of moving through the sometimes deep snow, Tub can only struggle to keep up and soon forgets about everything else. When Frank and Kenny cross over to Tub’s side, they see that he has walked over deer tracks and signs without alerting them. They heap more scorn on him, then follow the tracks until they come to a fence with a No Hunting sign. They hike back to the truck in order to drive to the farmer’s house to obtain permission to keep tracking the deer over the posted land. Tub tends to wallow in the deep snow, sometimes breaking through the hard crust that supports the lighter weight of the two other men, but Kenny and Frank make no allowances for his relative weakness. Kenny rather transparently teases Frank about a baby-sitter, but Frank does not appreciate the humor and refuses to explain the situation to Tub. After they gain permission to hunt, a dog rushes from the house, but Kenny drops down to snarl, and the dog, intimidated, runs back to the barn. Their hunt is unsuccessful, but as they walk past the farmhouse, Kenny suddenly declares his hatred for a fencepost and shoots it. He does the same to a tree, and when the farmer’s dog again rushes out toward the hunters, Kenny declares that he hates it and shoots the animal between the eyes. Tub and Frank are stunned. Next Kenny announces that he hates Tub, and Tub beats him to the draw by shooting him in the stomach. When Frank and Tub return to the farmhouse to call for an ambulance, the farmer informs Tub that he had asked Kenny to kill the dog. The farmer was too fond of the animal to shoot it himself but had not wanted it to suffer. Tub realizes that Kenny had only been playing another practical joke on him. No ambulance is available, so the other men find a board on which to carry Kenny to their pickup. When Tub accidentally drops his end, Frank castigates him for his clumsy obesity. Tub attacks the smaller man, shaking him until he apologizes. They get Kenny into the back of the truck, cover him with blankets, and Frank drives off to the hospital. Finding the cold unbearable, the two uninjured men stop to warm themselves but leave Kenny in the back of the truck. In the congenial atmosphere of the tavern, Frank reveals his love for Roxanne Brewer, a fifteen-year-old baby-sitter for whom he is thinking of deserting his wife and children. Despite Tub’s wanting to develop his friendship with Frank, his initial reaction to Frank’s offer is more telling than his eventual acceptance of the relationship. First, he confuses Roxanne with Juliet Miller, an even younger and less sexually mature child, and he then asks what Frank’s wife thinks. Frank provides the conventional response that Roxanne is more special than other children and, indeed, other people. He also admits that he has not yet told his wife and wonders if Tub thinks him a complete bastard. Tub promises to remain Frank’s friend regardless of his actions. Returning to Kenny, they again cover him with the blankets that had somehow slipped off him. Frank urges Kenny to keep repeating that he is going to the hospital. After they return to the highway, Tub realizes that he had left the directions to the hospital on a table in the bar, but Frank says he can remember them. Again suffering from the cold, Frank stops at the next roadhouse. This time it is Tub’s turn to entrust Frank with a secret....
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