Doe Season In the short story Doe season, David Kaplan creates a character named Andrea, who would rather be called Andy. Doe Season is not simply a story about a young girl’s hunting trip with her father and friends. During the few days that Andy is on the hunting trip, she takes an incredible journey trying to find out who she really is. Usually, hunting deer is an event reserved for young men and their fathers. Yet, it is through this outing that Andy experiences a rite of passage into womanhood. All through her life Andy has acknowledged herself as being able to relate to male figures and being more similar to her father than her mother.
Andy is a young girl who enters the world of a boy’s rite of passage to adulthood, experiences an internal journey through the group’s teasing, the killing of the doe, and the transformation of changing from Andy to Andrea. As Andy reflects on past journeys, the family trip to the beach stands out in her mind. She is very uncomfortable with her feminine side. Unlike her mother, Andy and her father were both nervous in the ocean. Her mother swam and splashed with animal-like delight while her father smiling shyly, held his white arms above the waist-deep water as if afraid to get them wet (513).
Andy associates more readily with her father. The naturalness of womanhood only makes Andy uncomfortable. After her mother’s top falls down in the ocean, Andy is embarrassed and quickly looks around to see if anyone has noticed (514). “The nipples like two dark eyes,” symbolizes Andy’s feelings that being feminine is similar to being grotesque instead of having elegant and beautiful qualities. Yet, this whole time Andy is unconcerned if anyone has noticed how foolish her father must look in the water trying to stay dry (514).
In the beginning of the story, there is emphasis on the woods always remaining the same. The woods stretch inevitably and offer a sense of security and safety. Even while hunting, the same woods lead back toward home where Andy’s mother is waiting for them. She is there and we are here, the thought satisfied Andy (511). When Mac, Charlie’s son, mentions to Andy that Canada is nearby, Andy rejects the idea. These same woods could not possibly go to a foreign country that is not part of home. Just as Andy is emerging into a new person, the woods around her are no longer the same s they were when she originally left home by the end of the journey. Both Charlie and Mac do not like, nor understand the idea that Andy is coming along on their hunting trip to the Pennsylvania countryside. Charlie continually questioning Andy’s father: Charlie Spoon was driving. “I don’t understand why she’s coming,” he said to her father. “How old is she anyway—eight? ” “Nine,” her father replied. “She’s small for her age. ” “So—nine. What’s the difference? She’ll just add to the noise and get tired besides” (511). This goes to show that Charlie does not believe that girls or women should go hunting.
He does not think that Andy is capable of keeping up with the men, this is very stereotypical. Culture has changed and it is now acceptable for women to go hunting and do outdoor activities. There are many women and girls who go hunting with their fathers in today’s world, but there are still men that think it’s a man’s job. Andy’s father does not see a problem with Andy going hanging with the guys. He sticks up for her every time Charlie and Mac ask why she’s coming with. When Charlie repeatedly stated that he didn’t understand why she was coming, Andy’s father says, “She can walk me to death.
And she’ll bring good luck, you’ll see” (511). He is okay with Andy coming along because she wants too. He sees no difference between him and Andy going hunting than Charlie and Mac. Doe Season ends with Andy watching “her father’s knife sliced thickly from chest to bell to crotch” (521). When Andy’s father begins to gut the deer, Andy has an epiphany. She realizes that, no matter how much she tries, she cannot become part of the male society. She then runs away from everyone. This gesture of turning her back and fleeing from her male companions shows that she finally accepts the fact that she is different from men.
The transformation within her is already complete. Then she listens to the sound of the wind which aptly reminds her of the “terrible, now inevitable sea” (521). The sea now becomes inevitable, owing to the fact the she recognizes she can no longer deny her true identity. She turns from the woods. Which suddenly became strange to her, to the calling ocean, heeding her real destiny- that of becoming a woman. Work Cited Kaplan, David Michael. Doe Season. Literature. Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing. EdLaurie G. Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell. 8th ed. Boston: Wadsworth, 2012. 511-521. Print.
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