How is the character Tub presented in the opening scene of "Hunters in the Snow?"

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tub, the main character in "Hunters in the Snow," is shown in the beginning of the story as a weaker and submissive friend to Frank and Kenny. He claims to be suffering from a gland condition that makes him fat, and he is the butt of Kenny's jokes:

"He looks just like a beach ball with a hat on, doesn't he? Doesn't he, Frank?"

The man beside him smiled and looked off.

"You almost ran me down," Tub said. "You could've killed me."

"Come on, Tub, said the man beside the driver. "Be mellow. Kenny was just messing around."
(Wolff, "Hunters in the Snow,"

His beta status compared to Kenny's alpha status is seen early and often, and he is constantly berated for his weight and his serious attitude. However, this proves tragic for Kenny, as his joking backfires with severe consequences. Tub is an example of a character who takes abuse until something in his mind changes; after the shooting, which in Tub's mind was justified because of a threat, he becomes more assertive and more willing to make decisions and defend himself.

belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tub is a man whose name fits his body: he is obese and the others make fun of him for it. He is somewhat pathetic in his first appearance, standing in the snow waiting for Kenny and Frank, who (deliberately) keep him waiting as a joke and then drive at him as if intending to run him over.

Tub had been waiting for an hour in the falling snow. He paced the sidewalk to keep warm and stuck his head out over the curb whenever he saw lights approaching... The fall of snow thickened. Tub stood below the overhang of a building.
(Wolff, "Hunters in the Snow,"

This pitable portrayal seems to set Tub up as the picked-on protagonist who will prove himself during the story, but instead he is shown to be as selfish as the others, a liar, and even violent when he loses his temper. Tub is not a good person, but he is marginally better than the others; Kenny is relentlessly abusive (under the excuse of "humor") and Frank is cheating on his wife with a young girl. Compared to them, Tub is almost good, but not sympathetic enough to like.

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Hunters in the Snow

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