The short story “Hunters in the Snow
The short story “Hunters in the Snow,” written by Tobias Wolff, is a story about three men who decide to go on a hunting trip in the wilderness. It is a story that has conflict within that allows for the story to progressively move forward. Each of the three men within the story are very different, but they allow for the story to be both unique and entertaining. Each character is a strong member of the story and gives the story its own unique twist.
The first character that I would like to analyze is Tub. Tub can be described as both a husky and sensitive man who contains a great deal of internal conflict. It is later told how his internal conflict references him being overweight. In the beginning of the story we first learn about his weight when Kenny asks him, “‘you still on that diet?'” (Wolff, Page 22). We learn that Tub is overweight throughout the piece since he can often not keep up with his friends since they are able to move quicker through the snow than him. This causes for Tub to often fall behind and gets lost throughout the hunting trip. He also misses simple details such as deer tracks on the trail. This is the basis of why his friends act rudely towards him. For example, whenever they get annoyed at him, they make fun of him by calling him fat. For example, when Frank and Tub get into an argument Frank says “‘you fat moron, you aren’t good for diddly,'” (Wolff, Page 29). To this Tub responds, “‘What do you know about fat, what do you know about me,'” (Wolff, Page 29). Here we learn the true nature of how his friend insult him by using the fact that he is overweight. But as we see his friends harass him, we learn about his true sensitivity. We learn that although he knows that he is overweight, his friends don’t know truly how much he struggles. The part of the story that Wolff reveals the most about this character is when Frank and him are warming themselves in the roadhouse bathroom. While they are warming themselves, Tubs reveals to Frank about how he has severe eating habits and how he must sneak food around so that he doesn’t embarrass himself while in front of his wife and kids. The reason that he finally decides to tell Frank his secret of overeating is because he needed to relieve some of the weight off his shoulder. It is also because he knows that trust is important in a friendship and this shows how he trusts Frank to confide in him.
The second character that I would like to analyze is Frank. Frank can be described as a friend who can sometimes be a thoughtful friend but can also be insensitive at the same time. He is also known for being extremely patient because during their hunting trip he states that if they get the deer then it happens, but if they don’t then they don’t. He also states on how “‘you can’t hurry nature. If we’re meant to get that deer, we’ll get it. If we’re not, we won’t,'” (Wolff, Page 24). This shows how he is very peaceful and willing to wait for the outcome. Also, after the incident occurs with Kenny, you can see that Frank is also quite intellectual since he has a knowledge of the anatomy of the human body. This allows for Frank to quickly diagnosis Kenny after he gets shot. He able to determine that he is lucky he was shot on the left side of his body because it missed his appendix. He also shows his way of being intellectual when he tries to defend himself when he tells his babysitter situation. The babysitter situation is also the situation where Wolff reveals the most about this character. When describing the baby-sitting ordeal, he tries to persuade Tub by claiming “you can’t just put people into categories like that, Tub. That’s why the whole system is wrong,'” (Wolff, Page 32). It allows for him to see that the world isn’t fair. He believes that the world shouldn’t put separate people in different categories so that he could see his babysitter without getting shunned or ruining his family. Throughout this situation he also sees Tub as a good friend. He knows that he is on his side and will do everything to support him. Frank also realizes that what he told Tub hurt his feelings and apologized on numerous occasions. After talking with each other and accepting that they both have their own secrets, Frank beings to accept Tub for who he is. He accepts Tub for who he is after being told about his “double life” and proceeds to buy him food so that he can eat without having to be ashamed or hide their food. This shows how deep that the friendship between these two has become.
The final character that I would like to discuss is Kenny. Throughout the short story, Kenny is known to be a prankster. For example, the story begins with Kenny pretending to run over Tub with his car. Also, when on the farmers property, Kenny pretends to be a dog, falling on all fours, and barking at the dog on the farm. However, the fact that he loves to joke around is the reason he got hurt. Instead of telling Tub and Frank that the farmer told him to kill the dog, he pretends he’s going crazy. When he is approaching the dog by the barn again, he begins to shoot random things. “‘I hate that post.’ He fired at it. ‘It’s dead.’ ‘I hate that tree.’ He fired at it. ‘I hate that dog.’ He killed it. He turns to Tub. ‘I hate you,'” (Wolff, Pag 26). Throughout this entire page he begins shooting random things to build up to his ultimate joke. He makes everyone believe that he is going crazy throughout this ordeal and that he will shoot Tub. This causes for Tub to shoot Kenny first causing Kenny’s injury. I feel like that Wolff reveals the most about this character when Kenny gets shot. It shows how his constant need to pull pranks on other could lead to his downfall. Also, throughout the piece, Kenny can be quite a jerk. He constantly talks down to his friends in a negative manner and has no concern for their feelings. For example, he often makes fun of Tub and constantly tells him to stop complaining. If he wants to complain then he should go complain to his wife and kids but not complain to him. Even though throughout the piece he is a jerk, Kenny remains hopeful even after being shot. Another time where I believe Wolff reveals a lot about this character is after he gets shot. After he gets shot, Kenny can remain hopeful and he is able to show his true feelings for his friends later in the story. As he is beginning to lose hope in the back of the truck, Frank tells Kenny to repeat “‘I’m going to the hospital,'” (Wolff, Page 33). This shows how he is constantly repeating in his head that he is going to the hospital. This motivates Kenny to stay alive. For the rest of the story, whenever we hear Kenny speak, we hear him repeating the fact that he is going to the hospital to himself, even when he is on the verge of death and freezing in the snow.