Killing Mister Watson Questions and Answers
by Peter Matthiessen

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Considering American values, especially those of the frontier (independence, starting over, free enterprise, pride, aggression, and so on), how can Mr. Watson be seen as an American hero in Killing Mister Watson?

Mr. Watson can be seen as an American hero in the way he put his allegedly violent past behind him and started over in Killing Mister Watson. He is said to have killed people in the past but then became a farmer with a family. The mystery surrounding his life reflects the American idolization of desperados. In addition, many Americans might view his transformation as heroic because he put his past of crime behind him and became a productive worker.

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Mr. Watson comes across as an American hero in the way he carries himself and how he appears to others. For example, consider the value of “starting over” mentioned in this question. Mr. Watson allegedly killed people in his past, but then started over and became a hard-working man who was devoted to his family. The ability to start a new life is a key tenant of the American dream. Thus Mr. Watson embodies the fulfillment of an...

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