Hunters in the Snow

by

Tobias Wolff

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Snow Symbol Icon

In “Hunters in the Snow,” the heavy snow creates a hostile, desolate landscape that mirrors the unfeeling and often cruel dynamic of Kenny, Frank, and Tub’s friendship. Before the hunt, Kenny and Frank are late to pick up Tub, forcing him to wait in the “falling snow” for an hour. This immediately suggests that Tub is the odd one out, and it creates a parallel between the uncomfortable and oppressive falling snow and the uncomfortable (and even outright hostile) behavior of Tub’s “friends.” Furthermore, being less nimble than the other two men, Tub struggles to navigate through the snow during the hunt and he quickly falls behind the others, echoing his difficulty in navigating his friendship with Kenny and Frank. While trying to catch up with the other two, Tub “bruise[s] his shins” on the thick, hard crust of snow. These physical bruises from the snow mirror the emotional bruises that Kenny and Frank inflict on Tub.

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Snow Symbol Timeline in Hunters in the Snow

The timeline below shows where the symbol Snow appears in Hunters in the Snow. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Hunters in the Snow
Narcissism, Neglect, and the Dereliction of Duty Theme Icon
For an hour, Tub has been waiting on the side of the road in heavy snow. One driver nearly stops for him, but before Tub can “wave the man on,” the... (full context)
Friendship and Cruelty Theme Icon
Narcissism, Neglect, and the Dereliction of Duty Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...less nimble than Kenny and Frank, finds it difficult to get through fences and the snow, but instead of helping him, they watch Tub struggle. By the time they’re ready to... (full context)
Friendship and Cruelty Theme Icon
...his friends altogether and hearing only Kenny’s distant laughter, Tub speeds up, fighting through the snow and breathing hard. Eventually, Tub catches up with them at a bend in the creek,... (full context)
Friendship and Cruelty Theme Icon
Kenny crumples onto the snow. Tub calls Frank’s name, but Frank doesn’t react. Kenny, rocking on the snow in pain,... (full context)
Narcissism, Neglect, and the Dereliction of Duty Theme Icon
Leaving Kenny bleeding in the snow but taking his rifle in case Kenny “get[s] ideas,” Tub and Frank head towards the... (full context)
Narcissism, Neglect, and the Dereliction of Duty Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Snow and wind get into the car through the broken windshield, and soon Frank’s fingers are... (full context)