Guilt can be a cruel emotion. It can change the way you view the world and even your life. Andre Dubus expressed the struggle of a man battling feelings of guilt in his work “Killings”. An interesting theme underlies the text of the work, a theme dealing with the ramifications of a murder, and the guilt that lingers
The main interest of the work is in a character, Matt, whose son has just been murdered, and his conflict with the concept of revenge. Throughout the story Matt makes frequent mentions to his family that he wants to and should kill his son’s murderer but is just as frequently disturbed and uncertain at this notion. Matt is never described to the reader as a violent or murderous person. The story even mentions that he was a caring and concerned father by stating that “He had always been a fearful father: when his children were young, at the start of the summer he thought of them drowning in a pond or the sea, and he was relieved when he would come home in the evenings and they were there” (92). Matt is angry with himself because he feels he should have been able to protect his son, but was not able to, and “he lost Frank in a way no father expected to lose his son, and he felt that all the fears he had borne while they were growing up, and all the grief he had been afraid of, had backed up like a huge wave and struck him on the beach and swept him out to sea.” (94). Frank, Matt’s son, was also previously beaten by Richard Strout, the man who would later murder him for “making it” with Richard’s wife. Frank’s battery was described as “Before ten o’ clock one night Frank came home; he had driven to the hospital first and he walked into the living room with stitches over his right eye and both lips bright and swollen” (91). Matt has such a burden put on him with the death of his son, and the magnitude of that event causes him not being able to think about “any of the small pleasures he had earned, as he had earned what was now...
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