Hunters in the Snow by Tobias Wolff

Hunters in the Snow by Tobias Wolff

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Is society too egotistical? In Hunters in the Snow, Tobias Wolfe gives an illustration of the selfishness and self-centeredness of humankind through the actions of his characters. The story opens up with three friends going on their habitual hunting routine; their names are Frank, Kenny, and Tub. In the course of the story, there are several moments of tension and arguments that, in essence, exposes the faults of each man: they are all narcissistic. Through his writing in Hunters in the Snow, Wolfe is conveying that the ultimate fault of mankind is egotism and the lack of consideration given to others.

For the duration of the story, there are several occurrences which exemplify insensitive as well as self-important mind-sets. Kenny, for instance, does not care about others around him; he is exceedingly self-absorbed. In one part, for instance, he jokingly yet dangerously runs Tub off the road with his vehicle. By doing so, Kenny is showing a careless side; a side that is neither concerned about hurting others nor himself. In his view, his entertainment comes before anything else; hence, injuring Tub was never a consideration. In addition, he also mercilessly taunts Tub about his weight when Kenny knows that it is both a touchy and upsetting subject matter for Tub. Frank, too, is also very self-centered since he is willing to leave his wife for their fifteen year old babysitter, who is barely half-way done with high school. The third main character, Tub, is also quite narcissistic because he becomes immensely defensive when it comes to his weight since he allows Kenny’s mock to offend him; therefore, Tub is egotistical given that he is fixated with his image.



As the story, Hunters in the Snow, progresses, the egotistical behaviors of the characters become even more apparent given the lack of sympathy when Kenny is gravely injured. Both Tub and Frank, for example, do not react as most friends would; as moral and compassionate friends would. Surprisingly, Tub, the individual who shoots Kenny in self-defense, shows neither guilt nor regret for his action as he watches his hunting companion collapse in pain. Tub as well as Frank pays no heed to Kenny’s distress as he lies in excruciating pain; basically, neither man shows a degree of remorse for their friend’s pain. For instance, both men are in no rush to transport Kenny to the hospital since they decide to stop at a tavern to get warm and leave Kenny in the truck in utter anguish.

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Hunters in the Snow by Tobias Wolff Essay

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In most situations, people would take action and stand by those in need of support; in simple terms, a principled individual would not allow a friend to become even sicker because such an act is against human nature as well the morality that many people are raised to respect. Ultimately, Tub and Frank are too self-interested, to the point where they have no empathy or consideration for those in need. Tub and Frank’s view is that if it does not affect them, then they will not concern themselves.

Another part of the story that shows the selfishness of man is the conversation between
Tub and Frank. As the men warm themselves with coffee in the tavern, they begin to have a
conversation about life. It is during this time, Frank confides in Tub about his decision to leave
his wife for another woman; but, this “woman” that Frank has become so fixed on abandoning
his wife for is only fifteen years old. However, neither age nor the damage to his happy family
are worrying Frank. He, on the other hand, has only one thing in mind: living happily ever after
with his teenage babysitter, Juliet Miller. In simple terms, Frank is not acknowledging the
consequences that will come about if he were to go through with this act. He recognizes that his
children are involved given that he tells Tub that “there’s the kids to consider;” yet, Frank is not grasping how much this decision will impact his children. Thus, Frank is paying more attention
to his wants and needs, then those of his own children.

In the end, Wolfe shows the egotistical behavior in society through his short story,
Hunters in the Snow. The selfishness of the characters is a representation of society given that
people are inclined to do more for themselves than for others. In this day in age, the citizens of
the world seem to have become overtaken by the notions of power, money, and beauty. For
instance, it has come to the point where individuals are more likely to do a favor if they receive
something in return; in basic terms, society is immensely self-seeking and Tobias Wolfe
accentuates that message through his story, particularly when he kills off Kenny at the end. In
this literary work, Kenny was the least egotistical character, yet he dies by the end; hence, Wolfe
is emphasizing the lively presence of egotism in society, especially since the self-absorbed Tub
and Frank both survive. As Ralph Waldo Emerson, a famous American essayist and poet, once
said “the pest of society are the egotist, they are dull and bright, sacred and profane, course and
fine. It is a disease that like the flu falls on all constitutions.”



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