Hunters in the Snow Questions and Answers
by Tobias Wolff

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What is the purpose of the scene in which Frank and Tub stop at the tavern for food and coffee, leaving the wounded Kenny in the back of the truck? During their conversation, Frank analyzes his own character and expresses remorse. Are his insights and remorse genuine? Why or why not?

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Frank's "insights" into his own character suggest that he is unable to fully recognize the depth of his own immorality—or Tub's, after he shoots Kenny—and that what he is expressing isn't remorse at all. What Frank seems to be expressing is relief when Tub assures him that he doesn't believe Frank to be "a complete bastard" when Frank reveals that he is going to leave his wife and children for a young, teenage babysitter. Both Tub and Frank are deeply morally compromised and are able to rationalize their behavior to themselves and to each other. Frank is able to feel better about seducing a child and destroying a family when he compares it to Tub shooting Kenny.

A purpose of the scene is to solidify the shifting allegiances in the relationships among the three men and set up Frank and Tub to be complicit in Kenny's impending death. An overarching theme that this scene helps Wolff to develop is an exploration of man's capacity for brutality and inhumanity and his willingness to...

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