Definition- To be on guard or aware of
“Remaining vigilant all night and counting the hours as he lay relaxed in sleep”
The enemy to vigilance is sleep, he is not awake or on guard but he is peacefully sleeping. Vigilance means to stop something before it happens. In the story it states how he wants to get up before the alarm clock. That’s the reason why he is sleeping with vigilance. He is afraid that if he wakes up from the alarm clock then his parents will also be getting up and he won’t be able to go out and hunt.
Definition- deceive or defeat by greater ingenuity
“Triumphantly pressing down the alarm-knob of the clock, which the dark half of his mind had outwitted”
A personification is being used here, he’s outwitting the clock. The dark half of his mind is telling him to stay asleep, not to get up. He had defeated the dark half of his mind that was telling to stay in bed. He was getting up before the clock was. The alarm clock usually has control over us in the morning but in this short story the boy has control over the alarm clock.
Definition- Only just; almost not
“His hands were numbed and he could scarcely hold his shoes”
He was so cold that his hand had numbed and he could barely carry his shoes, but he was preparing to go outside without putting the shoes on his feet, but carrying them. This action that the boy is doing is an important metaphor. He was bringing the shoes to use for when the ground grown too hot for his feet. But usually people use shoes to protect their feet from getting to cold.
Definition- feeling afraid; showing fear
“These he could not put on for fear of waking his parents”
He was afraid of many things happening. He was afraid of waking his parents because if he awoke his parents they would make him go back to sleep because it was too early. He was afraid of making noises that would wake them up, that’s also why he didn’t put on his shoes. He had shown fear at many parts of the story. When he was walking past his parents window he could see them sleeping, if something went wrong they would see him.
Definition- the state of being fully prepared for something
“Where his gun had been set in readiness the night before”
He had many things set in readiness the night before him going on the hunt. He had set out his shoes, the gun, and even the alarm clock. His body was even set in readiness preparing to get up early and also preparing for the fear of his parents finding out. He was even prepared for the guilt he would have for waking up this early and leaving the house without his parents knowing.