Doe Season

by David Michael Kaplan

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Which characters and ideas are in conflict in "Doe Season"?

The primary conflicts in “Doe Season” concern gender roles and the ethics of hunting.

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The primary conflicts in “Doe Season ” concern gender roles and the ethics of hunting. Among the members of two families who go deer hunting, Andy and her father are basically on one side, and Charlie and his son Mac are on the other side. Andy, the only female...

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in the party, is a nine-year-old girl. Her father believes she is an asset as a good shot, but the others question her participation because she is female. Andy’s position seems to changes from pro-hunting to anti-hunting, but that remains an open question. The other characters remain pro-hunting but, after seeing Andy kill a deer, change their stance on female hunters.

As the hunting-camping trip starts, Charlie and Mac are revealed as sexist and unpleasant, not only taunting the girl but belittling her father, who is ostensibly Charlie’s friend. Neither is her father completely supportive, as his approval seems based in her “tomboy” identity. After Andy shoots and wounds a doe, the animal runs away and the hunters lose her in the woods. At night, she returns and Andy has an encounter—in her dream—of reaching inside the wound and touching the doe’s beating heart. She also embraces her own female identity and decides to stop using the masculine nickname. When the animal is found dead the next day, the men congratulate her. As it dawns on her what killing an animal means, Andy runs off into the forest.

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Which characters and ideas are in conflict in the story "Doe Season"?

Andy is in conflict with her father because she does not want to hunt, and he thinks it is a leisure activity.

“Doe Season” is the story of a young girl named Andy.  As the title suggests, Andy is going deer hunting.  The title also refers to Andy’s being a girl, because although she has a very male name she is not used to hunting and does not seem to like it. 

Her father’s friend Charlie objects to Andy coming on the hunting trip with her father and Charlie’s son Mac on the grounds that Andy is too young and she is a girl.  Andy’s father objects that she will bring good luck, because animals seem to come straight to her.

This line foreshadows the struggle Andy will have with hunting and being one of the guys.  She will be the bait.  Animals will come to her, and her father will shoot them.  This is not likely a relationship a nine year old girl is going to enjoy.

Andy’s father says she wants to go, and he wants her to.  We get the idea though, that it is more his idea than Andy’s.  He wants father-son time, like Charlie and Mac, so he brought Andy hunting.  She laughs along with their jokes about deer knowing when it’s deer season, but she does not really understand.

Andy looked at her father.  Had she said something stupid?

Andy’s unease grows as she confronts the idea that she might not like hunting.  She wants to please her father, but the process scares and disgusts here.  This is especially true when she sees her father gut the deer.

Her father’s knife sliced thickly from chest to belly to crotch, and Andy was running from them, back to the field and across, scattering the crows who cawed and circled angrily.

He father and the others call after her, but in her mind she is being swallowed by the forest.  Andy is not a hunter.  She does not want to be a hunter.  She does not like the part she played in the hunt, and she is likely scarred by the event.

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