What is a major theme in "Hunters in the Snow?"
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One major theme in the story is unintended consequences. The hunting trip becomes a disaster and because of the various factors, hidden truths come out, and a man might die. Each event is preceded by something that foreshadows it, but all the characters are so self-absorbed that they can't see past their own immediate gratification.
"You're a grown-up, Tub. You can take care of yourself. Anyway, if you think you're the only person with problems I can tell you that you're not."
"Is there something bothering you, Frank?"
Frank kicked at a branch poking out of the snow. "Never mind," he said.
(Wolff, "Hunters in the Snow," classicshorts.com)
Even though Kenny has a history of making cruel jokes, his sudden real action of killing the dog makes his joke on Tub seem real, and Tub shoots him. Because of the stress, Frank reveals his affair to Tub, and Tub reveals that he overeats on purpose. Kenny's probably death is a direct, unintended consequence of his constant cruelty to Tub, but he never considers that his jokes could have any real effect until it is too late.
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