Name of Character: Matt Fowler
Physical Description: His physical countenance reflects a typical father in his 50s. The writer did not explore so much of Matt’s outer manifestations but on Matt’s personality and character.
Character’s Strongest Personality Trait: Matt Fowler is a passionate man who loves his wife too much perhaps more than he loves himself. He has an intense love for his children and his wife ultimately overwhelms even his logic and reasoning. Matt is capable of murder because he desires to make life easier and better for Ruth Fowler, his wife. Unable to bear any longer seeing his wife overwhelmed with grief for losing their son especially when “…at nights in bed she would hold Matt and cry, or sometimes she was silent and Matt would touch her tightening arm, her clenched fist”, Matt takes justice on his own hands. The character of Matt Fowler satisfies the standards of an ideal father and husband. He is content with his life blessed with three children and a loving wife but not until the death of his youngest son, Frank.
Most Important Thing to Know about the Character: Matt has a very humane nature just like anybody else. In the story, Dubus reveals the extent of human tendencies trough the character of Matt. Before his son’s murder, he has a good and strong relationship with his children and wife. However, the dark side of his nature is revealed when Frank was murdered and justice was not served. Matt punishes the villain instead in a way that he believes is appropriate for the crime that Richard committed. Matt’s character illustrates how emotions such as jealousy, passion, and love cloud one’s sense of reasoning and morality.
Why Character is Likable or Not? Matt’s character with the writer’s approach is likable. The writer seeks to understand Matt’s motivation in doing the crime. His intense love for his wife and family is rare. Matt’s character basically illustrates human imperfections which also suggest that everyone is capable of both good and cruelty. When after the murder “when the explosion of the shot surrounded him, isolated him in a nimbus of sound that cut him off from all his time, all his history, isolated him standing absolutely still on the dirt road” and when after the crime “he wished he could make love with her but he could not” illustrates his guilt feelings going back in his true self. Matt just like anybody else is innately good. Matt’s character reminds the readers how emotions one’s sense of reasoning and morality.
Character is Unique or Memorable because his personality in this story is very diverse where his negative and positive humane nature is revealed. He has a good and strong relationship with his children, especially with the youngest Frank. However, the dark side of his nature is revealed when Frank was murdered and justice was not served. Matt punishes the villain instead in a way that he believes is appropriate for the crime that Richard committed, claiming his act as a justifiable murder.
Matt Fowler is the type of person who would do anything for the sake of love. He avenges the murder of his son Frank by killing the man that murdered him without considering the consequences and the societal standards of justice. His intense desire for revenge is increasing after Richard Strout was released from jail because the district attorney cannot find enough evidence to declare Richard as a guilty suspect.
Character wants the Following:
a.) Matt wants to take justice in his own hands claiming it as justifiable since the society can not provide them the justice they want for their son.
b.) Matt definitely wants to end the sorrow and grief of his family especially his wife who cannot accept the fact that a murderer could be out of jail, free and confidently walking the streets.