Analysis of "Killings" by Matt Frank

download print

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 666 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Mar 20, 2024

Words: 666|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Mar 20, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Themes
  2. Characters
  3. Narrative Techniques
  4. Contemporary Relevance
  5. Conclusion

Published in The New Yorker in 2001, "Killings" by Matt Frank is a compelling short story that explores the complexities of grief, revenge, and the human condition. The story delves into the aftermath of a father's decision to take matters into his own hands after his son is brutally murdered. Through the use of vivid imagery, complex characters, and a thought-provoking plot, Frank effectively engages the reader in a deep exploration of morality and the consequences of seeking justice outside of legal means. This essay will analyze the themes, characters, and narrative techniques used in "Killings," and discuss how the story resonates with contemporary society.

'Why Violent Video Games Shouldn't Be Banned'?


One of the central themes of "Killings" is the nature of justice. The story raises questions about the limits of the legal system and the emotional toll of seeking retribution. The character of Richard Strout, the man responsible for the murder of Frank's son, serves as a catalyst for the exploration of justice. Frank portrays Strout as a callous and unrepentant individual, which prompts the reader to contemplate the idea of punishment and whether it can truly bring closure to the victims' loved ones.

Another prominent theme in the story is the psychological impact of loss. The protagonist, Matt Fowler, grapples with overwhelming grief and a desire for revenge, which drives him to take matters into his own hands. Frank's portrayal of Fowler's internal turmoil and the strain it places on his relationships with his wife and friends highlights the profound emotional consequences of violence and loss.


Frank's characterization in "Killings" is multi-dimensional, with each character possessing a unique set of motivations and conflicts. Matt Fowler, the grieving father, is depicted as a man struggling to navigate his own sense of morality in the face of tragedy. His internal struggle serves as a lens through which the reader can examine the complexities of the human psyche when faced with profound loss.

Richard Strout, the antagonist in the story, is portrayed as a remorseless and volatile individual, whose actions set the events of the narrative in motion. Frank's portrayal of Strout prompts the reader to consider the nature of evil and the complexities of human behavior, as well as the impact of vengeance on both the perpetrator and the victim's family.

Narrative Techniques

Frank employs a non-linear narrative structure in "Killings," which allows for a deeper exploration of the characters' motivations and the emotional resonance of the story. By weaving together past and present events, Frank creates a sense of suspense and introspection, inviting the reader to reflect on the moral and emotional implications of the characters' actions.

The author's use of vivid imagery and sensory details further enriches the narrative, immersing the reader in the emotional landscape of the story. Frank's descriptive prose effectively conveys the raw emotions of grief, anger, and despair, adding depth and authenticity to the characters' experiences.

Contemporary Relevance

"Killings" remains relevant in contemporary society, as it prompts readers to grapple with the ethical and emotional complexities of seeking justice in the face of tragedy. In an age of heightened societal tensions and debates surrounding the legal system, the story serves as a poignant reminder of the enduring impact of violence on individuals and communities.

Additionally, the themes of grief and retribution in "Killings" resonate with contemporary discussions on mental health and the psychological toll of loss and trauma. The story encourages readers to empathize with the characters' struggles and consider the broader societal implications of violence and its aftermath.

Get a custom paper now from our expert writers.


In conclusion, "Killings" by Matt Frank is a thought-provoking exploration of justice, grief, and the human condition. Through its compelling themes, complex characters, and evocative narrative techniques, the story offers a profound meditation on the emotional and moral consequences of seeking retribution outside of legal avenues. Furthermore, its contemporary relevance invites readers to engage with pressing societal issues and reflect on the enduring impact of violence on individuals and communities.

Image of Dr. Oliver Johnson
This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Oliver Johnson

Cite this Essay

Analysis of “Killings” by Matt Frank. (2024, March 20). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 15, 2024, from
“Analysis of “Killings” by Matt Frank.” GradesFixer, 20 Mar. 2024,
Analysis of “Killings” by Matt Frank. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 15 Jul. 2024].
Analysis of “Killings” by Matt Frank [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 20 [cited 2024 Jul 15]. Available from:
Keep in mind: This sample was shared by another student.
  • 450+ experts on 30 subjects ready to help
  • Custom essay delivered in as few as 3 hours
Write my essay

Still can’t find what you need?

Browse our vast selection of original essay samples, each expertly formatted and styled


Where do you want us to send this sample?

    By clicking “Continue”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.


    Be careful. This essay is not unique

    This essay was donated by a student and is likely to have been used and submitted before

    Download this Sample

    Free samples may contain mistakes and not unique parts


    Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.



    Please check your inbox.

    We can write you a custom essay that will follow your exact instructions and meet the deadlines. Let's fix your grades together!


    Get Your
    Personalized Essay in 3 Hours or Less!

    We can help you get a better grade and deliver your task on time!
    • Instructions Followed To The Letter
    • Deadlines Met At Every Stage
    • Unique And Plagiarism Free
    Order your paper now