Literary Analysis Of Killings Essay, Research Paper
Literary analysis of Killings by Andre Dubus
Killings is an excerpt from a story called Finding a Girl in America. Killings is a story that involves elements such as sex, murder, and revenge. The title of the story, the way in which the characters are developed, and the order of events are unique to the story. The story effectively evokes suspense and emotion as the plot unfolds into its own unique sequence.
Though it might be easy to overlook, the title of the story is very important. The title Killings leaves much suspense in the reader s mind. The title prompts the question killing what or whom. If the title were Killers or Murders, the wrong assumption of the story could easily be made. Either of these titles would make the reader think of a mass murder of some type and would leave little suspense. The title is important for setting the mood of the plot.
The chronology of the story employs a seldom-used style called in media res. This technique allows the reader to prejudge the characters then later form new opinions about them. Dubus does this by providing the climax of the story at the very beginning, and then telling of the events leading up to it. At the beginning of the story, the scene is set at Frank s funeral service. Even though it did not actually happen that way, it strikes the attention of the reader and also increases the suspense in the reader. The story starts out, On the August morning when Matt Fowler buried his youngest son. (80) The story continues for several pages without letting the reader know what happened. It can be inferred that a murder has taken place, but that is all the reader knows adding to the suspense of the story. Matt Fowler is depicted as a grieving that the readers feel remorse for. As the story unfolds in backward order, it is realized that he is really no different than his son s own murderer. Matt is a man acting on rage. In cold-blooded murder, The gun kicked in Matt s hand. (90) Richard Strout lay there squirming and kicking and Matt shot him once in the back of the head. Matt was no different than Richard even though the reader is compelled to feel sorry for Matt at the opening of the story.
Throughout the story, all of the character undergo the same emotions and act similarly. Steve Fowler, the brother of the murdered child is the first to lash out. In the opening paragraph he says, I should kill him. The father who avenged his son s death was no different than the murderer. They both acted out of anger and emotion. Ruth, Matt s wife had the same emotions. Ruth would only express her deepest thoughts and feelings to Matt in the bedroom. Ruth had told Matt that she wanted Richard killed too. Matt said that, Ruth would shoot him herself, if she thought she could hit him (83). Even though, Steve Fowler, was only briefly in the story, he expressed his rage in the opening sentences. Steve said, I should kill him (p81). He re-emphasized his rage by repeating it again. After the bold statement from Steve, he returned back to Baltimore and neither he nor his wife were heard from again. That one statement foreshadowed the mind set that the other characters had in the story.
Killings is a story that successfully keeps your interest and is full of action and suspense. This short story is filled with vengeance. As the story unfolds, each character went through emotional changes that caused shocking behavior in some of the characters. Each character had some type of vengeance in mind and all they wanted the same thing; murder.