The Last Hung: Joop’s Mid-Life CrisisIn Horst Stern’s The Last Hunt, a man named Joop is portrayed as aprofessional worker in a very well known bank. Outside of being a banker, Joopenjoys to hunt wild animals. This has been a hobby of his since he was ayoung boy. Throughout the story many questions are raised about Joop’s truefeelings about his job, hunting, and his life. In the beginning of the story, awomen 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 nuditypart of the picture.
This indeed is not true as the reader further examines thereason behind the picture. By looking at the picture, Joop realizes that he isgoing through a mid-life crises, which can only be resolved by exorcisingmemories 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 ofthe memories of Mari that still resided deep within his mind. He does this byvisiting the house where the majority of these memories take place. Whiletouring through the house he remembers all the ways that Mari resembled thegoddess of Diana.
During the period that Joop was married to Mari, sheportrayed herself in a few ways as being Diana. She did this by giving thename of “Worshipping Diana to the act of Joop kissing her.Her skin was white except for one violet-colored bruise just under herright collarbone; it never disappeared entirely during the hunting season andcame from the kick of her hefty weapons. It pleased her that he liked to kissthis particular spot.
She called it “Worshipping Diana” (Stern 112).By doing this, Mari therefore implies that she believes she is thegoddess of hunting. Not only does Mari imply that she is similar to the goddessDiana, but Joop also feels very upset about her believing that she is a goddessand he is just one of her pawns. ” Her solemnity always frightened him, sinceit seemed to suggest that his main role in her eyes was as high priest of herown 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 getthe 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 wouldbe able to see through the rear window. He had not had the strength to utterall the polite words called for upon his departure from the tower, which he knewhe would never see again. For him, Mari’s pheasant had just fallen dead at hisfeet, pierced by a volley of bleak memories (117).
By leaving in such a quick pace without saying goodbye to the lady orwatching the house fade away in the distance, Joop partially exorcised thememories of Mari. The only thing remaining that kept memories of Mari alive wasthe painting hanging up in Joop’s office. That would be taken care of as soonas Joop returned to normal work.After leaving the house, Joop then continued on toward his next step inovercoming the crisis.
He had always struggled in his hunting times. He neverhad a real clean kill to his name. When ever he went hunting with Mari, he wasnot able to kill the animal on the first shot. He felt very upset that he wasnot able to have a real trophy from hunting. When he was presented with theopportunity on his trip to have a chance at killing an extremely large bear, hejumped on it in a flash.
When Joop finally arrived at the place where he wasgoing to kill the bear he felt as if his crisis was soon going to be over. Whenthe bear finally arrived and the shot rang out from Joop’s rifle, Joop realizedhe once again did not kill the Bear instantly. He feels very embarrassed bythat and decides to stay on top of the shooting blind until the moon disappears.Long before Joop has time to think all this,