Kenneth's Regret in The Intruder by Andre Dubus

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 775 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Dec 11, 2018

Words: 775|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Dec 11, 2018

Kenneth’s Biggest Regret

Andre Dubus introduces Kenneth Girard in The Intruder as a thirteen year old boy who struggles to find his identity. This is Kenneth’s story because he is the main person that the narrator speaks about. Kenneth shot who he thought was a prowler because he was influenced by his religion and expectations of his gender to be “the man” of the house, and to protect his sister. He felt as if he was being a hero by shooting down the the prowler in order to keep him from climbing into the window, but there are several other options that he could have taken. He could have shot the intruder in the leg or he could have called the police, he did not have to aim for the head. Most people would argue that “desperate times calls for desperate measures” or that it was a ‘fight or flight’ response, but he did have time to aim at his target and pull the trigger. It is implied in the story that Connie, Kenneth’s sister, was aware that Douglass would be sneaking in through her window and was probably the one who had invited him.

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“He closed his eyes and the night ran together in his mind and he remembered the rifle in the corner and thought: I’ll throw it in the creek tomorrow. I never want to see it again” (Dubus 456). This statement from the story shows that Kenneth didn’t know that what he was aiming at was Douglass. If he had known, then he would not have pulled the trigger. He also expresses how guilty he felt for what he did. His greatest flaw was that didn’t know exactly what he was shooting. Kenneth’s immediate actions may have come from his love for his sister. If the intruder was caught climbing up Kenneth’s window, then maybe there would have been a turn of events. Kenneth would have seen face and most likely wouldn’t have fired, but the intruder was climbing for his sister’s window. Dubus makes the readers mindful of Kenneth's love for his sister in the main line of the story when Kenneth goes to the woods to dream. The audience realize that Kenneth adores two things: being in the woods, where he can dream, and being around his sister. Kenneth must have felt as if his sister would be in trouble, leading to his unexpected actions.

The argument in the story is about a thirteen year old with a rifle and the parents who allow it. To many, it is inferred that having a gun is part of Kenneth’s families tradition or religion. He comes from a family who hunts and there may not be an age limit to owning a rifle within his tradition. “Then he got the rifle and cleaning kit and sat in the rocking chair in the living room, with the rifle across his lap. He put a patch on the cleaning rod and dipped it in bore cleaner and pushed it down the barrel, the handle of the rod clanging against the muzzle” (Dubus 452). This statement tells us that Kenneth really knows how to a gun and he may seem a bit too knowledgeable for a thirteen year old.

Kenneth’s actions in the story can most likely be labeled as man versus himself. Kenneth obviously regrets what he did and if he could take it back he would. He realizes that what he has done was a sinful deed and he wants it to be a dream. “He would be asleep soon. He saw himself standing on the hill and throwing his rifle into the creek, then the creek became an ocean, and he stood on a high cliff and for a moment he was a mighty angel, throwing all guns and cruelty and sex and tears into the sea” (Dubus 456).

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The reality of the situation is that Kenneth committed murder and there is no say of what would become of him. He probably might be charged a an adult, but with his intentions he might get a smaller charge. Maybe the jury will see him as a kid who made a mistake and let him go free. Kenneth does not have the motive of a killer and yet he killed. Maybe Connie is to blame. She probably knew that Douglass was going to sneak into the house and maybe this has been going on for a while just like her smoking, except he finally got caught. Connie may not have pulled the trigger, but had she not invited Douglass over in the first place, then Kenneth would not have shot him.

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Cite this Essay

Kenneth’s Regret in The Intruder by Andre Dubus. (2018, October 26). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 29, 2024, from
“Kenneth’s Regret in The Intruder by Andre Dubus.” GradesFixer, 26 Oct. 2018,
Kenneth’s Regret in The Intruder by Andre Dubus. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 May 2024].
Kenneth’s Regret in The Intruder by Andre Dubus [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 Oct 26 [cited 2024 May 29]. Available from:
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