Feed on

Belle Boggs’ “Deer Season” takes the reader through the minds of all of the characters in the story, and portrays what the first day of deer season means to each of them. What is so beautiful about this story is that the reader feels a personal connection to each individual character due to the switch in point of view in each paragraph. As a new paragraph is written, the reader enters into a new character’s thoughts and feelings, which allows the reader to view the world and the character’s experiences through their eyes. “Deer Season” is a story in which action is not a key element of the story; the telling of what each character feels and experiences keeps the interest of the reader.

In the first paragraph, the reader is taken immediately into the mind of the creepy principal, who, “thinks [the girls] dress more casually on this day, no boys to impress.” (3) Then, in the second paragraph, the reader enters the mind of the secretary, who, “the satisfaction of slapping him she sometimes thinks she would give her job.” (3) Almost every single paragraph of the story introduces a new character and portrays how the absence of the arrogant hunting boys affects each of them.

This story seems to have a feminist message due to its prominent examination of how the presence of men affects how everyone in the school is represented. For example, Jenny, the girlfriend of an aggressively forward jock, expresses her relief when she is without her boyfriend for the day. “Down the hall, Jenny is glad to have the day away from her boyfriend. He is always kissing her in the halls, embarrassing her, or putting his hand in her back pocket as they go from class to class, which makes it hard to walk or even feel like a person.” (4)

I love how Boggs nuances the relationships between each of the characters and describes how there is almost a silent understanding between them. There seems to be an unspoken relief among the characters, like they feel unburdened with the absence of the deer-hunting boys for the day.

…to let them draw uninterrupted by jeering and teases from those boys with their model trucks and deer antlers. Jason with his wheel thingy and Jenny with her bunch of dried-up roses, they seem as though a weight has been lifted from them. (5)

Throughout the story, the characters reveal that they all feel “under-the-gun” in certain areas of their lives. Only during the absence of the hunters are they able to fully express or think about the troubles that are going on in their lives. The demanding presence of the hunting-boys keeps the girls (and select boys who do not go hunting) on edge and makes them feel as though they are unimportant. Allowing the reader into the minds of the characters shows the reader how each character feels buried with their own life obstacles and problems. For example, the secretary, who is constantly patrolled by the principal, and Mrs. Hayes, who is fighting with her husband “wishes she could lie in the hole now, unseen under a big pile of cool, golden leaves” (6) shows how the absence of the loud and rude boys offers each of them a little peace and quiet away from the anguished areas of their lives. The absence of the boys also allows them time to sit and reflect on these parts of their lives as well.

The graceful shift between each character represents their relationship to one another, where, together, they share a brief interlude from the stress and worry of the boys, who will inevitably return to school the next day.

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