The Hurt Man
Written by Kenny
The Hurt Man is a short story written by Wendell Berry and published in 2003. The story contains two main characters: Mat Feltner and his mother Nancy. It is written in 3rd person narrative from Mat’s point of view. Both the name of the town, “Port William”, and all of the front names are English, so the story definitely takes place in an English speaking country. The year is 1888 and the town has a quite cowboy-like atmosphere with saloons and horses mentioned regularly, along with slavery, which makes me assume it takes place in America - probably a southern state. The name Feltner which sounds foreign also supports this idea, since America is the immigration capital of the world. The family consists of three persons, Mat, Nancy and her husband Ben and have lost 3 children before Mat was born. The family is probably a middel/upper-middle class family; living in an seemingly average house, but possibly former slave owners: ”For the first four or so years of his life he was closely watched, by his parents and also by Cass and Smoke, Cass’s husband, who had been slaves.”
Mat is a five-year-old kid who have had a very nice upbringing. His parents perceived him as a blessing after the death of their other children and they treated him accordingly. This also means that the mother is quite protective and does not like to let him be alone. None the less he is still an active and curious child and even though the mother prefers to watch over him, she lets him stray off at times since she realises the world is risky and she wants to prepare him for that.
Nancy Feltner is a very strong woman and it seems that she is more of a role model to Mat than his father is. At the time this was unusual for women in general but quite typical in the West as described in Cathy Luchetti's "men of the West. Life on the American Frontier". The sentence "Women's competence must have perplexed men" really sums this view up, as it shows the general...