Killings by Andre Dubus

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Killingsby Andre Dubus

Alook into Andre Dubus story


Thesociety is characterized by many individuals who possess diversepersonalities. The shape of the society is defined by what theinhabitants believe in and practice. In Andre Dubus short tale,“Killings”, issues of murder, revenge, love and morality take thecenter stage. Andre Dubus’s story helps the leader understand theopposing forces that can lead to various decisions from individualsand eventually harm others.

Keywords:Murder,revenge, love, morality, opposing forces

“Killings”is a short story that depicts the happenings of a family after theirson is killed. The killing comes after a love conflict. In an attemptto avenge the son’s death, events unfold to the killing of theantagonist.


Thepaper analyses the protagonist, Matt Fowler and the two opposingforces pulling him

Whodo you believe to be the protagonist (the character who faces aconflict) in &quotKillings&quot?

Thestory of Andre Dubus brings into focus Matt Fowler. The recenthappenings in the life of Matt Fowler make him a victim ofcircumstances. As the protagonist, he is faced with variousuncertainties. Frank Fowler, his youngest son at 21, gets killed byRichard Strout due to a love triangle tussle. Frank was dating MaryAnn, a divorcee with Richard. Ann could not bear what she was goingthrough in the marriage and opted out. Richard was hot tempered, apersonality that catalyzed the murder of Matt’s son. He saw noother avenue to salvage the marriage or reconcile with his estrangedwife and acted to the solution that came to his mind killing FrankFowler. These events depict Matt as the protagonist (Dubus,2002).

OpposingForces pulling the Protagonist

MattFowler is adversely affected by the death of his son. He is throwninto a situation of sorrow. He mourns with his family after deathbereaves him of his son. The grief engulfing him is aggravated byRichard Strout walking free on the streets after he is granted abail. Matt and his wife went through a period they never expected andconsoled each other as described in the story:

“…hefelt the same and when he was able to forget how he felt, when he wasable to force himself not to feel that way…,. And beneath hislistless wandering, every day in his soul he shot Richard Strout inthe face, while Ruth, going about town on errands, kept seeing him.And at nights in bed she would hold Matt and cry, or sometimes shewas silent and Matt would touch her tightening arm, her clenchedfist.” (Dubus,2002, Pg85)

Anotheropposing force for the protagonist is how justice will prevail.Matt’s conversation with Willis brings about the fear of how thejustice system is exposed. They perceive a situation in which Richardwould get a lenient imprisonment (serve a term unsatisfactorily forthe crime) and thus he is set to get away with the murder. Pastevents by Richard depict him being violent. Mary led an awful lifewith him and to make the matter worse he shot Frank in front of thechildren. Therefore, a sense of justice for the victims (Mary andFrank Fawler) troubles Matt, the protagonist.


Dubus,A. (2002).&nbspInthe bedroom.New York: Vintage Contemporaries.

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