In "Some of Us Had Been Threatening Our Friend Colby," Donald Barthelme tries to show how inhumane man can be by telling an absurd story of a man named Colby who, "had gone too far." (Barthelme, 1973, pg. 19) In the story, Colby's so-called friends decided that they must hang Colby because of his going too far. Barthelme uses this story to illustrate how people can sometimes let their emotions get in the way of their good judgment.
Colby's friends had been warning him for some time that they did not like the way Colby had been behaving. But after Colby did something, his friends decided that he should be hanged. They tried to rationalize their decision by saying that they, ".... had a perfect moral right to do so because he was our friend, belonged to us in various important senses, and he had after all gone too far."
(Barthelme, 1973, pg. 194) His friends would not listen to Colby's argument that, "Going too far was something everybody did sometimes." (Barthelme, 1973, pg. 193)
We never do find out what Colby had done, but we do know that whatever it was, it made his friends very angry with him. Since Colby was never arrested for any crime, we can infer that what he did was not a serious crime. This is why Colby's friends' reaction to his actions seems very unusual. One would think a normal response to Colby's actions would be to yell at or exclude Colby from the group--not to hang him.
As Colby's friends fussed over every little detail of the hanging as if it were an elaborate wedding, Colby again appealed to his friends saying, "... everybody went too far, sometimes, and weren't we being a little Draconian." (Barthelme, 1973, pg. 195) Colby's friends acted...