How are the three protagonists of "Hunters in the Snow" similar?

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Each character is similar to the others in that they are deliberately manipulating the others to gain either power or leverage. Kenny abuses Tub, but looks to Frank for approval. Frank goes along with Kenny until Kenny is shot, and then shifts his allegiance to Tub. Tub overeats on purpose, knowing that this will give Kenny something specific to insult, rather than focusing on Tub himself.

"Stop bitching, Tub. Get centered."

"I wasn't bitching."

"Centered," Kenny said. "Next thing you'll be wearing a nightgown, Frank. Selling flowers out at the airport."

"Kenny," Frank said, "you talk too much."

"Okay," Kenny said. "I won't say a word. Like I won't say anything about a certain babysitter."

"What babysitter?" Tub asked.
(Wolff, "Hunters in the Snow," classicshorts.com)

None of the men are honest with each other, and so their actions are based in their lies just as strongly as if they are done with purposeful intent. When Tub shoots Kenny, it is a natural extension of Kenny's jokes, except that the joke is nullified by the very real killing of the dog. Tub, accustomed to more harmless insults, panics and believes that Kenny was about to shoot him; this is amplified by Kenny pretending to drive at Tub earlier. Each character relates to the others through deceit, and at the end, shared lies unite Frank and Tub, leaving Kenny alone in the dark.