Analysis of Story “Doe Season” by David Michael

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The selected text is an analysis of the short story “Doe Season” written by David Michael Kaplan. The story revolves around a young girl named Andy who goes on a hunting trip with her father, his friend Charlie Spreun, and Charlie’s 11-year-old son, Mac. Initially, Andy prays for the group to find a deer. Throughout the story, the narrator recounts Andy’s past experiences, such as her fear upon seeing the ocean for the first time. The narrator also mentions Andy’s experiences during the hunting trip, including an uncomfortable conversation with Mac about genitals and her disgust at learning about the practice of “hogdressing,” where a deer’s genitalia may be removed. When Andy finally has a chance to shoot a deer, she secretly wishes it would escape instead of being killed. However, she ends up shooting it, and it flees wounded. Andy is overcome with guilt and struggles to fall asleep. During the night, she has a surreal encounter: the wounded deer approaches her tent and allows her to touch it. When she feels its warm heart beating, she realizes the gravity of taking a life. The following morning, they find the deer dead. Overwhelmed with remorse, Andy runs away. The story’s theme revolves around the notion that for a child to mature, they must confront the presence of death in life.

The title of the story directly conveys its theme. I have personal experience with a real doe season, and I understand the need to selectively hunt female deer to balance the population. However, this also means that the innocence of the female must be inevitably destroyed, just like the deer itself. This revelation occurs when Andy, a young boy, comes to understand that death is a part of hunting.

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In this story, there are three symbols that are closely related to the main theme. First, the doe represents the destruction of innocence. Secondly, the ocean symbolizes adulthood. The protagonist feels fear towards the vastness and constant movement of the ocean, which is described as hiding everything. The context also emphasizes the mocking nature of the sea, indicating its inevitability. Lastly, the accidental exposure of her mother’s breasts serves as a symbol of Andy’s realization that she will eventually become a woman like her mother. Through her mother, she gains insight into what womanhood entails.

In relation to the central theme, the changes in the main character, Andy, are significant. Initially, she prays for the chance to shoot a deer, uttering, “Please let us get a deer” (348). Moreover, after shooting the deer, she reflects upon her actions and muses, “What have I done?” (352). Towards the end of the story, as she witnesses her father dissecting the deer, Andy decides to run away from them. She recalls them calling out her old name, “Andy,” but affirms that she no longer answers to that name (354). With each encounter, Andy progressively loses her innocence. The transformation in her character is essentially a result of her loss of innocence, which is a necessary part of a child’s growth and development.

It is evident that to fully mature, a child must accept the inherently challenging aspect of mortality inherent in life. Just as a doe cannot avoid death, a child cannot evade the loss of innocence. This is an essential part of growth and adulthood that everyone experiences in their own unique way. In this particular situation, the young girl’s experience of loss was portrayed through the theme of death.


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Analysis of Story “Doe Season” by David Michael. (2018, Sep 04). Retrieved from

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