The short story written by David Michael Kaplan, “Doe Season” is what I have chosen to analyze. “Doe Season” is about a young, innocent girl, named “Andy” who goes hunting with her father, his friend “Charlie Spreun” and his 11 year-old son “Mac.” At the beginning of the story she is praying that they will get a deer. Throughout the story, the narrator tells of Andy’s past experienes, like when she saw the ocean for the first time and was frightened.
The narrator also mentions actual experiences she has within the hunting trip, like when Mac asks her if she has ever seen “it” (a penis). She is also disgusted when the young boy tells her that they sometimes cut the the deer’s “it” off when a process called “hogdressing” is being done (not realizing how cruel hunting can be). Once the opportunity comes for her to shoot a deer, she wishes it would run away and wonders why it does not.
She shoots it, but it runs away. She can’t believe what she did, and is unable to fall asleep. That night, she has a bazaar experience of the deer coming right up to her tent and allowing her to pet it. She sees the gaping wound, and reaches down and feels the warm heart beating (realizing she was destroying a life). The next morning they find it dead. She feels terrible and starts running away. The theme of the story is the idea that in order to mature, a child must reconcile life with the reality of death.
The theme of the story is found directly within the title. I know from my own experience about a real doe season. It is necessary that their be a time for only killing the females since the population is much greater than that of bucks. Therefore, it controls the ratio between female and male deer not to be so different. This implies that at the same time the female innocence must unavoidably be destroyed, just as the doe must be. It takes place only after the young Andy realizes that death is involved in this thing called “Hunting.”
There are three symbols in this story that have a great deal to do with the central theme. Of course, the doe would represent the innocence being destroyed. The ocean is supposed to be adulthood, when it is mentioned that “That was the first time she’d seen the ocean, and it frightened her. It was huge and empty, yet always moving. Everything lay hidden” (345-346). As well as the last context stating, “…all around her roared the mocking of the terrible, now inevitable, sea” (354). Her mother’s accidental exposal of her breasts is a symbol of Andy’s seeing that she will, one day, be like that. Her mother is the only way of seeing what womanhood is like.
Finally, the changes made in the main character, Andy, have a lot to do with the the central theme. She first prays, “ Please let us get a deer” (348). After she shoots the deer, she thought, “What have I done” (352)? At the end, when she watches her father cut the deer open, Andy started running away from them. “Charlie Spoon and Mac and her father–crying ‘Andy, Andy’ (but that wasn’t her name, she would no longer be called that)” (354). Each experience enabled her to lose a little bit of innocence each time. Actually, for a child to advance and grow in life, it takes the loss of innocence. So that is what the change in the character was; her loss of innocence.
It is clearly shown throughout each and every one of the elements that in order to fully become an adult, a child must come to terms that living comes along with the difficult reality of dieing. In the sense that the child’s loss of innocence cannot be avoided, just as the doe’s loss of life cannot be. This is just a part of life, a part of growing, a part of becoming an adult. Everyone goes through it. Everyone has their own personal experience of the loss. This little girl’s was conveyed in the scenario of death.
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