The story is set during an August morning at a funeral service for Frank Fowler, the youngest son of Matt Fowler (lead character in the story). In the opening paragraph, Frank’s older brother Steve says, "I should kill him” (Dubus 107), indicating some type of revenge. Matt indicates that he also wants revenge based on a conversation with his friend, Willis Trottier. Matt tells Trottier “Ruth would shoot him herself, if she thought she could hit him” (Dubus 109), implying that she would also seek revenge if she was able. Steve’s statement foreshadowed the mindset of revenge that the other characters have in the story.
In Dubus’ portrayal of his character Matt, we watch him evolve from a very kind, loving father and husband into a m...
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...d liberation in hopes that he has ended Ruth’s suffering, he overpowered by guilt and isolation.
There is irony to Matt’s character because the readers are seeing his dark side with a desire to kill, but the reader is also sympathizing with the grief and guilt from killing another human being. Dubus shows the reader that although Matt avenges Frank’s death, it became his own self death.
There is no question that the love Matt had for Frank was the motivation to kill Richard Strout. The story ends with two physical killings and a moral death as well. Vengeance comes at a very high price, death.
Dubus, Andre. "Killings." Meyer, Michael. In The Bedford Introduction to Literature. Ed. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2008. 107 - 120.
Meyer, Michael. The Bedford Introduction to Literature. Ed. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2008. 2189.
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