Critic on

Reading through the whole story "Haircut" , it is not easy to believe that the death of Jim Kendall is really accidental. It is most likely that the incident is a murder.

Jim Kendall is not a man who is loved by people in that small town, although some people find his jokes funny as long as they are not on them. There are many examples of those on whom Jim always makes annoying jokes such as Milt who "has got an Adams apple that looks more like a mushmelon" Julie Gregg and especially Paul Dickson who fell out of a tree when he was about ten years old : "Lit on his head and it done something to him and he ain?t never been right. No harm in him, but just silly." Paul is the most important one among them because of two reasons: He is not as clever and reasonable as the others and he is the one who was killed Jim Kendall. Of course these do not prove that the killing of Jim is on purpose. However there are some more reasons that can cause Paul kill Jim on purpose.

As we understood from what is told, Paul is fall in love with Julie although she just feels pity on him : "The poor boy was crazy about Julie and she always treated him mighty nice and made him feel like he was welcome, though of course it wasn?t nothing but pity on her side" But according to Paul, Jim never treated her right. He faked her by mimicking Doc. Stair when Doc. Stair was away and made her come to doctor?s office. By the way he and some of his friends hid near the office and laugh at her when she realized the trick. They made fun of her till she got home. Later, when Paul learned this he told the whole story to Doc. Stair. He replied Paul that he would make Jim suffer some how : "It?s a chinch Doc went up in the air and swore he?d make Jim suffer"

These words from Doc. Stair may well encourage such a person like Paul about punishing Jim Kendall in his own way.

We do not know exactly how old Paul is but it can be assumed that he is not very old, he may be a teenager. In his ages insults are much more damaging than knifes. Dealing with him too much, tricking him whenever possible and making everybody laugh at him, Jim Kendall surely deserves a good punishment in Paul?s mind.

Last and the most important thing that can prove that Paul killed Jim on purpose is the conversation between The barber and Doc Stair through the end of the story:

"Next morning, I hadn?t been open more than ten minutes when Doc. Stair come in. He looked kind of nervous. He asked me had I seen Paul Dickson. I said no, but I knew where he was, out duck-shooting with Jim Kendall. So Doc says that?s what he had heard and he couldn?t understand it because Paul had told him he wouldn?t never have no more to do with Jim as long as he lived."

He said Paul had told him about the joke Jim had played on Julie. He said Paul had asked him what he thought of the joke and the Doc had told him that anybody that would do a thing ought not to be let live.

I do not know if there is anything that can be said on this conversation. A boy that is not very clever who is affected by someone whose thoughts he respect, a love that he feels deeply, a bad man whom he suffered a lot from and a perfect setting to get rid of him without being blamed.

At first Paul was maybe unwilling to go with him but he did not want to miss such a chance. When it was Paul?s turn to shoot, he shot the seemingly wrong target but possibly it was the most suitable target that could be shot!