Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold: A Comparison of Fowler and Snopes Matt Fowler and Abner Snopes are both male characters that possess a motivation for revenge. Some people can only feel better about an unfortunate situation or circumstance by seeking revenge. Such a person would believe that until the other party feels the same pain as they have, only then would justice have been served. We live amongst a society where acts of revenge are quite common and most perceive them to be of a “natural human emotion. People feel different emotions and think different thoughts on a daily basis and throughout life as we grow and change. Things do not always work out in our favor or the way we have planned for them to. While both men are in two completely different circumstances; the motivation for revenge is mutual. In the case of Matt Fowler, we see a man who has lived his life the best way he knows how. He is a loving father who raised his children well and he continues to execute this role by attempting to guide his son, Frank, in the right direction when it comes to the woman he is in love with: a married mother of two small boys.
It is clear to Matt that Frank is deeply in love and there is nothing and no one that can hold him back from following is heart; regardless to how dangerous the situation may be. Matt is supportive of his son; while pointing out to Frank the dire circumstance that he and his lover are in. The bottom line is that she is a married woman and her soon-to-be ex husband has already exhibited violence towards Frank before. (Killings,105) This heartfelt and much needed conversation is shared between the two men while on a father and son road trip. Dubus 107) Matt and his wife wake up to any parents worse nightmare: their son has been murdered. From that point forward, Matt feels as if he is wandering through life as opposed to living life as he previously have before the death of his son. Matt is struggling between the good man he has always been and his feelings of seeking revenge on his son’s killer. There will be no inner peace for him until his son’s murderer is dealt the same fate. Matt will eventually act on this urge in a thorough and planned out execution.
We have all seen the news programs with families pleating and mourning over the loss of loved ones through unnecessary violence. Many times, law enforcement feels the need to intervene and remind the heartbroken family members and friends that it is best to allow the law to seek justice; as opposed to seeking revenge and continuing the unnecessary violence. As adults, we understand the logic behind this; however, as a grieving parent, whose life may seem be over and pointless without their child in it, this emotion can invade one’s soul and not lessen until that emotional fix for revenge is received.
Matt Fowler is a man who goes through these roller coaster emotions and eventually acts out on his thoughts. (Dubus 108) Abner Snopes is a man who comes from a different era and exhibits different values and affections for his children than Matt Fowler does. They do not share many similarities as men and the only thing they have in common is that they are both fathers seeking revenge. Abner Snopes is a character that we see in today’s society quite often.
He is a man who does not abide by the laws, is not a good role model or example for his children, and when his actions catch up to him and it is time to face the consequences of his decisions, he is not man enough to accept the punishment. Our society is filled with people such as Abner Snopes. These people tend to go through life making selfish decisions and never learning their lesson. They tend to blame others for the reasons they are guilty of unthinkable acts and later continue their reign of terror because now they have something/someone knew to blame for their demise.
Their children are eventually faced with two options: 1. Be like my father and repeat the viscous cycle or, 2. Be a better man then my father and learn from his mistakes. Abner Snopes is a man who is rough around the edges and shows no mercy when it comes to his guilty pleasure of burning barns. As a father, he attempts to convince his youngest son that he must be loyal to his family because blood is thicker than water and without doing so, there will come a time in his life when no family will be there for him since he didn’t remain loyal to them. Faulkner 505) Abner knows that his young son is a honest boy who does not support his father’s barn burning ways; as a result, Abner attempts to “teach” the boy that being loyal to one’s family, regardless if they’re right or wrong is the honorable thing to do. Eventually, tried for intentionally damaging a rug by rubbing his dung covered feet on it, and being sentenced to the lesser punishment due to a lack of evidence, Abner is infuriated as opposed to grateful that things didn’t end up worse.
He, in return, sets out to burn down the rug owners barn. His son knows this act will be wrong and he cannot stand idly by and allow his father to continue doing what he does. He makes the decision to turn his back on his father and warn the barn owner that his father is coming to burn down his barn. (Faulkner 512) later, the boy hears shots fired and knows he can never return back to his family to deal with the outcome of his actions. One is left to think he continues to live a life of his own and become a better man than his father ever was.