How is the setting meaningful in "Hunters in the Snow?"

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belarafon's profile pic

belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The setting of the story is a winter hunt, and the reader first sees Tub standing in the falling snow, waiting for his "friends" who do not seem to care how late they are. As the story continues, the snow relates to the disconnect between the characters, and their indifference to their real feelings:

The snow was shaded and had a glaze on it. It held up Kenny and Frank but Tub kept falling through. As he kicked forward, the edge of the crust bruised his shins. Kenny and Frank pulled ahead of him...
(Wolff, "Hunters in the Snow,"

Each character, in their own way, is cold towards the others: Kenny is deliberately cruel, Frank is aloof but approves of Kenny's abuse of Tub, and Tub wants to be accepted but doesn't want to risk offense. In the end, the cold weather is the force that connects Frank and Tub, possibly at the expense of Kenny'a life. This in itself is ironic, because Frank and Kenny deliberately used the cold snow to isolate and insult Tub; now, Kenny is ignored in the cold while Tub and Frank share their secrets.

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toffoletto | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

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It can be said that the cold, hostile environment is an outward expression of how the men behave towards one another. Kenny is rather hostile to Tub, while Frank is cold and indifferent to Tub and his pleas for help.

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