Character Analysis: The Utterly Perfect Murder

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Childhood
Killing someone for something that happened 36 years ago as a child might sound absurd, but it might not be. In “The Utterly Perfect Murder” by Ray Bradbury, a man named Doug wakes up in the middle of the night to kill his childhood “friend”, Ralph. He does not know why it took him 36 years for it to come to him, but he decides that it needs to be done. So he gets on a train, leaving his family behind. However, when Doug arrives at Ralph’s house he decides not to kill him because of the physical and mental state Ralph has deteriorated to. He’s already dead in Doug’s eyes. What people experience in childhood affects them into adulthood.
Firstly, Doug randomly woke up on his 48th birthday and decided he had to kill Ralph. Doug lying next to his wife with children of his own sleeping in the other room woke up and decided that he “will arise and go now and kill Ralph Underhill” (Bradbury 1). The reason this thought came about was because of the horrible things Ralph did to him when they were twelve. These memories were so vivid that the only seemingly just thing to do was to kill Ralph. Doug was not sure why it took so long to seek revenge and it had Doug questioning, “Why it hadn't come to [him] when [he] was thirty or forty”
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Doug was thinking about past occurrences such as when “Ralph [knocked him] down, rolling [him] in snow and fresh brown mud” (Bradbury 2) and another time when “[Ralph] hit [his] arm” (Bradbury 1). Clearly, Doug had never recovered from the bullying that took place when he was younger. When they were twelve Doug accepted Ralph’s beatings and considered his “scars [as] the emblem and symbol of [their] love” (Bradbury 2). Doug older and more sensible understands that this is not how the friendship should have been. Now understanding, these memories enrage him and it’s this emotional response that caused him to get up and attempt to murder

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