The Path to Self Destruction
In the short story “Hunters in the Snow” Tobias Wolff uses symbols to convey that some people’s selfishness can lead to their own self destruction.
The first example of symbolism that Tobias Wolff gives us is the setting of the story. Implied by the stories title the setting is a snowy forest. The snow, being so cold, is symbolic of the cold relationship that the three hunters; Tub, Frank and Kenny all share with each other. Frank and Tub, once used to be very close, but Frank now has a more close relationship with Kenny but even that friendship is not without its taunting and antagonizing. This is made clear when after Frank tells Kenny that he talks to much, Kenny Says “I won't say a word. Like I won't say anything about a certain babysitter.” (Wolff 140) Kenny says this because, deep down he really does not care about Frank or his affair with the babysitter that he has confided in him with because Kenny is a cold hearted person who is a glutton for power and dominance regardless of how much, how little or how important it really is. Another example of the cold relationship these men have is Tub being the subject of much of Kenny’s ridicule. This is illustrated when Kenny says to Tub “All I can say is, it's the first diet I ever heard of where you gained weight from it.” (141) Throughout the course of the story Kenny makes numerous remarks about Tub’s weight. Kenny does this because he views Tub as weak and insignificant compared to him. Kenny verbally abusing Tub and treating him so “coldly” is all about making himself feel better for being a miserable and horrible human being.
Wolff also gives us another example of symbolism in his story, in the form of a gold ring that Frank wears. “He wore a heavy wedding band and on his right pinky another gold ring with a flat face and an ‘F’ in what looked like diamonds.” (141) Rings have always been known as a symbol of unity, trust and loyalty. The ring that Frank wears has the...
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