Revenge: Is It Justified With the Characters in the Short Story “Killings”

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Let’s examine the short story of “Killings” by Andre Dubus. The story begins on a warm August day with the burial of Matt and Ruth Fowler’s youngest son Frank. Frank was only twenty-one: “twenty-one years, eight months, and four days” (Dubus, “Killings” 107). Attending the funeral were Matt, his wife Ruth, their eldest son Steve, his wife, their middle daughter Cathleen and her husband. Frank was buried in a cemetery on a hill in Massachusetts overlooking the Merrimack. Across from the cemetery is an “apple orchard with symmetrically planted trees going up a hill” (107), a symbol of how nice and serene the cemetery actually is and the peace Frank now has. Matt’s family is extremely distraught over the murder of their youngest…show more content…
Matt feels the deep hurt within her.
Before the murder, Ruth has concerns about her son Frank’s relationship with the killer’s estranged wife and fears the worst for her youngest son’s safety. She doesn’t care for Mary Ann, the soon to be ex-wife of the killer. Ruth has heard Mary Ann and the killer are having problems in their relationship: “that the marriage had gone bad early” (110). The killer and Mary Ann’s troubled marriage is a symbolism of the destructive encounters about to arise. Ruth can sense and feel that her youngest son is in jeopardy, but is powerless to persuade him any differently of his feelings and thoughts for Mary Ann.
Matt Fowler, the protagonist (hero) to his family, is a devoted, loving father and husband. Matt has raised his children to be respectful and insightful to others. He has watched them grow into nurturing adults to lead their own lives and families. Matt is concerned about his youngest Frank and the relationship he has with Mary Ann: It seems like a lot for a young guy to take on, Matt finally said. Sometimes it is. But she is worth it. Are you thinking about getting married? We haven’t talked about it. She can’t for over a year. I’ve got school (111).
Matt remembers his children as they grew and fondly recollects their situations, always being protective of them. Matt had always been a “fearful father” (112), always

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