Killing Mister Watson Summary
Peter Matthiessen

Everything you need to understand or teach Killing Mister Watson by Peter Matthiessen.

  • Killing Mister Watson Summary & Study Guide

Killing Mister Watson Summary

Matthiessen's persistent concern with a primitive landscape bearing the incursion of white "civilization" is represented in Killing Mister Watson. However, instead of displacing this fundamental conflict to South America or the Caribbean, Matthiessen sets it in America, on the west coast of the Florida Everglades. It is here, among the "dark mangrove walls closing out the world, with the empty Everglades to eastward where the sun rose, and that empty Gulf out to the west where the sun set, the silence and miskeeters and the loneliness," that Matthiessen locates his chronicle of the life and death of Edgar J. Watson — farmer, businessman, and outlaw gunman.

Matthiessen has at times been criticized for his tendency to posit the superiority of the primitive over the civilized, but in Killing Mister Watson there is no "primitive" who receives unalloyed praise. These "frontiersmen" of the Everglades are...

(read more from the Short Guide)

Study Pack

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Killing Mister Watson Short Guide

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