“Hunters in the Snow” by Tobias Wolff Essay
“Hunters in the Snow” by Tobias Wolff
In many walks of life, people believe that humanity is one with nature ranging from plants to animals, and when the outer shell dies, the spirits that were within them become abstract images of individual creatures. We have the same instinct as animal just a few adaptation and the ability to reason. In the short story “Hunters in the Snow” by Tobias Wolff, the use of symbolism and imagery to show contradistinction between humanity and the natural world. Wolff brings such a correlation between being human and also being a beast that it’s difficult to differentiate which one is who. Tobias is consistently showing the true nature of Tub, Kenny and Frank by relating them to hunting deer, but hunting the secrets that they concealed within themselves. Tobias makes claims to the sensitive nature of man by trepidation that fills a void in the three characters. “In Hunter’s in the snow,” Wolff is indirectly elucidating the symbolism between Tub, Kenny, and Frank with their snowy environment, showing how tyrannical they have become and the symbolism of the deer. The first brush of snow is sweeping the landscape. The deep dark clouds and brisk winds stabbing Tub coat. The ground painted with the circles of footsteps as cars pass by like a shooting star. “Tub had been waiting for an hour in the falling snow.” Tobias Wolff (page) Tub, the first character, is the most soft-spoken of the trio.
He was much heavier than Kenny and Frank but kinder at heart. In retrospect to Tub, the first line of the story gives evidence to his demeanor, showing an explicit representation of Tub’s personality; like the falling of the snow, he is very soft, and fluffy in appearance. Wolff also gives the illusion of the hunters as they try and hunt for deer, but the deer symbolizing the truth that’s within themselves. “He paced the sidewalk to keep warm and stuck his head out over the curb whenever he saw lights approaching.” (page) Wolff drew a connection with Tub as a deer pacing the snowy covered ground poking his head out like a deer in a sniper scoop. “The snow was light but the drifts were deep and hard to move through.” (page) Tub noticed the smooth, undisturbed snow to bring the deception of himself and the struggle he goes through with his weight. Kenny helps create these deep drifts by targeting Tub, which hindered him from overcoming his low self-esteem, but Tub mentally has to push through. Wolff then makes the exact nature of the guilt inside of Tub transparent.
Wolff shows how effortlessly Kenny and Frank were walking upon the snow while Tub strenuously tried to keep up but kept sinking in the soft snow. Tub surrendered to the snow, sits down and began to forego on the things that’s eating him inside. The snow is changing in size. The sky is getting darker by the minute. The wind is increasing in intensity. The footprint of deer disappears as their animal instinct begins to make way. Kenny is the leader of the pack and is the bitter cold winter himself with a frozen heart and a crystal core. As they hiked deeper into the woods, Kenny attitude progressively became as thick as the snowy landscape. Kenny first taunted an old dog, shot a post, then a tree and then the old dog dead center in the eye. Like a hurricane, peace lies in the center of the eye. “The clouds were low and heavy-looking and the wind blew in shrill gusts. There was a screen loose on the house, and it banged slowly and then quickly as the wind rose again.” Kenny then turned to Tub. “I hate you” (page) Tub with no hesitation shoots Kenny from the waist throwing him against the fence. The events of the snow picking up showed the growing tension in the story, the clouds low and heavy-looking described Tub and the position of the rifle.
The banging of the screen door simulated the gunshot that hit Kenny in the stomach. The pellucid event had turned the tables around. The snow starts to breaks; the wind started to whisper, and the lifeless snow became white. Kenney the cold harden anarchy began to subdue slowly to his frozen soul as the freezing winds covered his body spilling not red but a bluish blood on the crimson ice. Wolff, prudently shows that the deer and Kenny, at the tavern, they stopped to warm up with the other group of deerstalkers. Kenny tied to a post, covered with the warmth of his blood waiting to be nailed to the wall like the brothers that are there. Tub and Frank pay little care to the severity of his situation. An iceberg, floating peacefully only showing the outer nature of his stability. The water is slowly breaking down the composites leaving way to the truth inside. Frank representing an iceberg, through all the shooting he stood still, as if in shock of what he sees. He gives the outward appearance of an ordinary guy tagging along to whomever more favored or had the authority. Like an iceberg, his actual intention lies beneath the skin; flaky like the snow on their clothes.
“The snowfall lightened, and the clouds began to roll back off the fields, but it was no warmer and after a time both Frank and Tub were bitten through and shaking.”(page) The tension between the friends died down like the wind, but the coldness was still prevalent because they were aloof to Kenny situation. Frank who has a wife and kids seem to have a good family but holds a dark secret. The story goes deep into the imagery of the snowy environment, and the deer only to reveal the deepest secret frank is in love with his fifteen-year-old babysitter. In this incredible piece that show claim to the true nature of the humanity and how uncaring and ruthless society can become. Within this short story, “Hunters in the Snow,” the relationship of the men corresponds with the snow and as tensions builds, so does the weather. Wolff creates this magical illusion tying us to a winter storm and how certain winter objects we can be related to. The symbol of a deer that represent life and death but also shows the hunters Tub, Kenny and Frank what’s is hunting them inside.
“Hunters in the Snow–Tobias Wolff – Classic Short S.” Insert Name of Site in Italics. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2014 .