The Secrets of “Hunters in the Snow”

The first character introduced in the story is Tub. Tub is portrayed as being rather large. The reader’s first image of Tub is when Kenny says, “He looks just like a giant beach ball with a hat on…”(117). Tub’s inner conflict is his weight, which he lies about throughout the story. Tub is obviously self conscious about his weight and is in denial about his gluttony. He hides cookies and sandwiches in his clothes, but in the presence of his friends, he acts as if he is on a diet and eats a boiled egg and celery. His friends mock him about his diet and can see that he is not loosing but gaining weight. Later in the story, Tub finally reveals to Frank the truth about his gluttony. Tub admits, “I’ve even got stuff (snacks) in the paper towel machine at work…Oreos, Mars Bars, Twinkies”(126). I believe that Tub reveals his secret to Frank because he wants help and he knows that Frank will be understanding. It is after this incident, that Frank takes Tub to a restaurant so he could eat until he was completely full.

The second character in the story is Frank. One gets the impression that Frank is very masculine. He repeatedly tells Tub and Kenny things that would make them more of a man. When Tub complains that he is cold, Frank tells him to “Stop bitching…Get centered”(118). Later, Frank tells Kenny that he is too talkative, as if men should not talk too much. This conversation with Kenny reveals Frank’s inner conflict. Frank has committed the act of adultery with his fifteen-year-old babysitter, Roxanne Brewer, and actually feels that he is love with her and wants to leave his wife. At this point, Kenny is the only one who knows about Frank’s secret. It is not until the conclusion that Frank reveals the truth to Tub. Frank is also in denial about his lust. He tries to justify his adultery by being “really in love” (125) as he said to Tub in his moment of confession.

Kenny, the final character, seems to be the most memorable. His actions will cause a fatal consequence. Kenny is the practical joker of the group. In the opening scene, he tries to run over Tub with his truck, but jokingly of course. Kenny is also a smart mouth and a know it all. At one point in the story, Kenny purposely says, “I won’t say a word. Like I won’t say anything about a certain babysitter”(118). He blurts out Frank’s secret just because he has the information. The climax of the story is when Kenny concocts a secret plan to act like he has lost his mind and begins to shoot everything that he supposedly hates, “I hate that post. He raised his rifle and fired…I hate that tree… I hate that dog…”(121), but what Frank and Tub do not know is that Kenny was given orders by the farmer to shoot and kill the dog because the dog was sick. Not knowing that Kenny was joking and seeing that he had actually killed the dog, Tub did not take any chances when Kenny said he hated him. Tub shot Kenny before he could shoot him. After Kenny was wounded, he admits, “I was just kidding around”(121), but no one takes his statement as being important and they disregard it. It is later that it is revealed that Kenny was actually joking and he had been shot because he decided to go too far with his prank. Frank and Tub’s reaction was simply, “That Kenny. What a card” and let out a laugh and a smile(127). I believe that Tub and Frank knew that Kenny’s practical jokes would someday be his downfall and that time had finally come.

“Hunters in the Snow” is a tale about a male bonding and hunting trip that turns disastrous because of secrets. Tub’s anger that he held inside because of the constant mockery from Kenny and Frank, combined with his denial about gluttony, made it easy for him to shoot Kenny. Tub finally stood up for himself and protected himself. When Frank found out that Kenny was merely joking, his reaction was unsurprising and unsympathetic as if he knew an incident like that was soon to come and this was foreshadowed by Frank earlier in the story when he told Kenny “You’re asking for it”(118). Although, the reader does not know exactly how Frank’s and Tub’s lies will impact their lives, one does see how Kenny’s lies will probably cost him his life because the hunters had taken the wrong turn and were not on their way to hospital.

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