Tobias Wolff’s “Hunters in the Snow” centers on the actions and personalities of Kenny, Frank and Tub as they embark on a hunting trip during the winter. Each character faces problems (in character or otherwise) which they attempt to cover up through deception – the central theme in this short story – in order to accept their respective actions. The consequences of these cover ups profoundly change the power of each character over another. Furthermore, the characters don’t realize how their lies influence others around them.
Kenny is a quintessential bully. His need for power over the other two causes him to assert control of any action be it driving or asking for permission to hunt on private grounds. In truth, he doesn’t even wish to ask for permission but is pressured by Frank to do so. Kenny’s seemingly flippant mannerisms also follow from his desire to be the alpha-male. He insults and mercilessly teases Frank and Tub about their insecurities. He pretends to desire to run over Tub after appearing an hour late and immediately silences any objection from Tub. However, he neither realizes how far he is pushing Tub nor the peril he is in. His stupid actions leading up to and after the murder of the old dog finally push Tub, who legitimately fears for his life, to retaliate. This immediately puts Kenny’s life at the hands of his bully victims and leaves a power vacuum to be filled.
Tub’s main problem is his denial of the poor eating habits that he has. He adamantly tries to convince others that his problem is due to his glans despite acutely knowing that he gorges himself on unhealthy foods in solitude. The insecurity he feels about being found out causes him to become easily manipulated and bullied by Frank and Kenny. Moreover, the retaliation against Kenny only adds to the insecurity Tub has and he immediately searches for approval and protection against the consequence of shooting Kenny.
Frank fills in this vacuum and manipulates Tub into...
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