Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

The most noticeable feature of “Hunting Season” is its imagery. Virtually every detail in the story focuses the reader’s attention on the hunt, which Greenberg uses as an ironic symbol of the mother’s pursuit of the child whom she must release. The literal presence of hunters in the woods near the home provides the most significant sign of the dangerous environment outside the warmth and security of the home, which is clearly the domain in which the mother is supreme. The “world of rape and murder” that the mother sees when she ventures out after her son is really there: The land has been ravaged by miners, and the hunters seek to destroy the living creatures that inhabit the mountainous region.

When she dashes out to follow her son, the mother herself becomes a hunter, her son the prey. Searching for him, she “nosed the wind like an animal.” A noise prompts her to ask herself “Was that his cry?” When she spots his jacket, she begins “tracking” him “warily,” until she finally realizes that she is simply “a middle-aged huntress.” Her action—backtracking to avoid his seeing her, treading carefully so as not to make noise, reinforce this portrait. Greenberg also suggests the nature of this pursuit in her description of the boy, who appears with the characteristics of the wary animal: “He put his head up,” when stopping on his trek toward the creek, “reading the air for something.”

More subtle is...

(The entire section is 406 words.)