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Haircut Final Paper

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No Simple Accident

In the story, Haircut, it is no surprise that the loutish Jim met his demise at the hands of one he tormented. While satisfaction may be found in his demise, we must ask was Jim's death purely accidental or was there a plot to murder him? Unfortunately, the answer is not simply spelled out for us. There is much evidence throughout the story that, while the town has declared Jim's death accidental, this was no simple hunting accident but we must read between the lines of the story Whitey tells.

We cannot rely upon Whitey's presentation of the events leading to Jim's death. He has proven himself to be uneducated and ignorant (para. 2). He delights, and thereby excuses, Jim's despicable behavior (para. 34), calling Jim's acts of cruelty "jokes" (para. 21). His lack of compassion towards Jim's victims is further evidence of his own questionable character (para. 52). Whitey goes as far as to minimize Jim's attempted rape of Julie when he refers to the incident as a "little affair" (para. 54). So, when Whitey tells us that Jim was receiving his due when he allowed an inexperienced, and mentally diminished (para. 33), hunter to have a gun (para. 82), we know that while his perception is that the shooting were accidental, there is more beneath the surface.

Paul's cognitive deficits impair his judgment. He is easily influenced (para. 34), trusts few people (para. 37), and has a crush on Julie (para.39). These facts play a huge role in his involvement in Jim's death. Paul is not necessarily capable of seeing the results of his actions. And while he may have been holding the smoking gun, it is easy to see that Jim's death may have been a result of Doc Stair's influence upon Paul.

Doc Stair had become quite close with Paul (para. 38), going so far as to work with him "to improve Paul's mind" (para. 40). While there may have been instances when Paul was as "bright and sensible as anybody else" (para. 40) we do not believe that Doc has, by any means, cured Paul. He is ultimately nothing more than a pawn in Doc Stair's plot for revenge (para. 74).

Doc Stair does not rush to seek his revenge. As Whitey states, "it was kind of a delicate thing" (para. 74), meaning Doc would have to bide his time and wait to act on his desire for revenge. Doc made it quite clear that not only should Jim pay for his actions but that he should not even be allowed to continue living (para. 78). All of this said to the impressionable Paul.

We can only assume that Doc had full knowledge of what Paul was, and was not, capable of. It can be no accident that when Doc decides to exact revenge for Jim's treatment of Julie,



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