About Mid Life Crisis In Horst Stern's "The Last Hunt"

1225 words - 5 pages

In Horst Stern'sThe Last Hunt, a man named Joop is portrayed as a professional worker in a very well known bank. Outside of being a banker, Joop enjoys to hunt wild animals. This has been a hobby of his since he was a young boy. Throughout the story many questions are raised about Joop's true feelings about his job, hunting, and his life. In the beginning of the story, a women walks in on Joop while he is staring at a picture on a wall in his office. The women is very embarrassed because she believes he is staring at the nudity part of the picture. This indeed is not true as the reader further examines the reason behind the picture. By looking at the picture, Joop realizes that he is going through a mid-life crises, which can only be resolved by exorcising memories of his wife, the bear, and the goddess of hunting, Diana.The solution to the first part of his mid-life crisis is to get rid of the memories of Mari that still resided deep within his mind. He does this by visiting the house where the majority of these memories take place. While touring through the house he remembers all the ways that Mari resembled the goddess of Diana. During the period that Joop was married to Mari, she portrayed herself in a few ways as being Diana. She did this by giving the name of 'Worshipping Diana to the act of Joop kissing her.Her skin was white except for one violet-colored bruise just under her right collarbone; it never disappeared entirely during the hunting season and came from the kick of her hefty weapons. It pleased her that he liked to kiss this particular spot. She called it 'Worshipping Diana' (Stern 112).By doing this, Mari therefore implies that she believes she is the goddess of hunting. Not only does Mari imply that she is similar to the goddess Diana, but Joop also feels very upset about her believing that she is a goddess and he is just one of her pawns. ' Her solemnity always frightened him, since it seemed to suggest that his main role in her eyes was as high priest of her own cult' (Stern 112). In this case the high priest would be the hunter Joop, and he would be serving Mari in her own fantasies.Joop's departure from the house was very swift because he wanted to get the memories of Mari behind him.Joop climbed wearily into the car and told his chauffeur to drive . . . Without turning around he raised a had in a gesture of farewell the woman would be able to see through the rear window. He had not had the strength to utter all the polite words called for upon his departure from the tower, which he knew he would never see again. For him, Mari's pheasant had just fallen dead at his feet, pierced by a volley of bleak memories (117).By leaving in such a quick pace without saying goodbye to the lady or watching the house fade away in the distance, Joop partially exorcised the memories of Mari. The only thing remaining that kept memories of Mari alive was the painting hanging up in Joop's office. That would be taken care of as soon as Joop...

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