5 July 2011
A Snowy Haven
A neighborhood full of eyes watching with judgmental thoughts aimed at you. Gossip behind every corner, evaluating everything you do, avoiding any contact with someone so profligate. No one wishes to be in such a lonely and ostracized state. That’s why everyone strives to conceal each troublesome and embarrassing problem in their lives, appearing to the world as a worry-free, cheerful, and enthusiastic person. In the short story “Hunters in the Snow” by Tobias Wolf this act of concealing a person’s inner and true self in order to avoid judgment occurs amongst the main characters. There are three men who go on a hunting trip: Kenney, Frank, and Tub. As they find themselves unable to find deer to hunt, Tub shoots Kenney in fear of being shot himself since Kenney was threatening to shoot him first. The hunters reason amongst themselves that they have to drive him to the hospital themselves, but on the way Tub and Frank stop to warm up at bars a few times. In this story we learn that Tub claims to have problems with his glands, which is why he is overweight, and we get a clue that Frank is hiding something about his personal life in a conversation with Kenney. Throughout the story, these characters are always covered with white snow, even as the title suggests. Symbolically, white is a color of purity and innocence; throughout the story, Frank and Tub seem more innocent than their true selves would actually allow. Not until the end when they go into the bar to warm up and the snow “melts” off, are their genuine personalities and their secrets revealed. In “Hunters in the Snow” Wolf cleverly uses snow as a metaphor to mask Frank and Tub’s personal problems.
In this short story, Frank’s personal problems are secreted through the metaphor of snow. The reader knows that he has a family: a loving wife and kids. Throughout the story the author exposes nothing about Frank that would...