The revelation late within the image that Lee informed Arvin some individuals exist to die creates a self-fulling prophecy to Arvin’s life. He’s right here to make good on that promise, as most of those damaged individuals could be higher off within the floor the place they’ll’t harm anybody. It begins with the calculated homicide of the predatory Preston, however via a collection of convoluted circumstances, he additionally winds up bumming a trip with Carl and Sandy, who’ve lived in their very own separate little film as mass murderers. The one killing we see in depth is how they slaughtered Lenora’s lacking father, however they’ve been accumulating “fashions” for 15 years by the point Arvin will get into their automotive.
Like their sufferer Roy Laferty, Sandy is having second ideas about her life as a serial killer earlier than she dies. She did it largely simply to please Carl. Years later although, she needed out. She even daydreamed about working away with Arvin earlier than the younger man places a bullet in her lover’s head. Quickly she follows him throughout the bar, unaware the trail she is on has been set for years—a cynic would possibly say because the day her father walked out—and now all that’s left is the sudden shock of oblivion.
And this brings us again to the ending the place Arvin quickly sends the person who informed him some people are simply right here to be buried to an early grave. He didn’t wish to kill him, however Bodecker needed revenge for his murderous sister. And after that showdown, all of the individuals who an Outdated Testomony God would possibly say had it coming have met their fates. However Arvin doesn’t consider in God, per se, even when he returned to his childhood dwelling to make peace with Him and the daddy who created a world in worry of spirits. Arvin buries the canine his father killed, plus the Luger, which is an apparent metaphor of him attempting to bury the trauma his father imparted to him. With the canine given the remainder he hoped his mom and father discovered, he’s free to depart this darkish nook of America.
However is the remainder of it any higher? Sitting subsequent to a proto-hippie as he falls asleep listening about escalation in Vietnam, Arvin can think about a world the place he breaks the cycle of violence he and everybody he is aware of lives on. He can discover a woman and calm down with out the trauma that manifested itself because the Satan in his papa. However he’s already embraced Willard’s inheritance for violence, hasn’t he? Certain, he buries Dad’s Luger within the closing moments, however solely after utilizing it to kill 4 individuals, the primary of which was not in self-defense.
After which there are his personal second ideas about looking for a peaceable life. It’s troubling he entertains the concept of signing up for the Vietnam Battle whereas pondering of a greater tomorrow. After which he’s additionally contemplating that perhaps his grandmother (and father) might be proper about prayer. Even exterior of Knockemstiff, he’s nonetheless in a imaginative and prescient of America that’s violent, round, uncaring, and doomed to repeat the sins of its fathers. One conflict has ended however one other is begun. The narrator even says Arvin “wasn’t certain if he was going backwards or forwards.” His finish is his starting.