Would "doing the right thing" possibly be not to do anything at all? In the case of Mitchell Hayes in Andre Dubus ' "The Curse" it was. In this short story there are a number of ideas a reader can derive from what he should have done. But to do nothing can in fact be the right avenue to use in certain situations. The characters themselves seem to believe that Mitchell was right in his decision. But like most tough decisions, they can be hard to live with.
Mitchell Hayes is a forty-nine year old man working as a bartender in a small town. Most of the customers he new by name and was very friendly with. He never gave much thought to being an older man up to this point is his life. When five men entered into his bar he could feel that something was wrong. A horrible act was committed against a young girl who was raped on the floor of the bar. Mitchell was defenseless against the overpowering men. He believed at the time that there was nothing he could do to stop it from happening. During much thought after the incident he began to think otherwise.
There are many factors to consider when analyzing what the correct decision would be in a given situation. Among many things to consider, one would be what the persons own moral values are. Mitchell seems to be a person with high moral values, which would lead you to believe that he knows "the right thing" to do in a given situation. The second consideration would be the risk verse reward. Most characters in the story indicated Mitchell had done the right thing and was not to blame for what had happened. If he had acted he would have accomplished nothing but further damage to himself. Another consideration would be the natural instinct, which plays a major role in our decision making. Mitchell shows this instinct but does not follow completely through with it after evaluating other variables.
When looking further into the character that is making the tough decision, Mitchell Hayes, we find a number of things
Cited: Dubus, Andre "The Curse" Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing, Eighth Edition Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 2006. 585-588