Analysis Of This Boy's Life: A Memoir By Tobias Wolf

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In the book “This Boy’s Life: A Memoir”, by Tobias Wolf, the author often illustrates Jack’s coping mechanism to escape the unpleasant parts of his life. Using his coping mechanism of imagination made his life more endurable without the restraints that are placed upon him. In particular, his coping mechanism would involve him using his imagination to imagine where he wants to be in life and how much of a different boy he would be if he grew into a high class family that did not have any problems. Often during the day, Jack would be off smoking a cigarette and putting on a façade of manliness as he would describe how he did things such as “kill the turkey in Chinook”. Instead of stating the truth and showing his friends the boy that moves all …show more content…
Daydreaming about anything else that involved him being the boy that had a dad and family. A boy who had better things to do then be forced to shuck away at nuts that resulted in cuts and scratches on his fingers. Third, delaying the need to go home after his paper routs was a coping mechanism because he chose to sit in bachelors’ quarters and read. He chose to spend his time fooling around with kids from school, play with dogs, read papers and dream about being a hero. None of these things involve him being at his house and would enable him to escape his life for a while. Once Boy Scout meetings gave him the opportunity to recreate himself into the hero he yearned to be, Jack not only liked boy scouts but had fantasies of becoming the chivalric guy that could compare to Lord Baden-Powell. Boy scouts turned him into someone with ambitions and symbols to pin to his uniform that symbolized things such as respect. Notably, all these symbols would aid his dream and belief of becoming someone that would help disguise the boy who is claimed to be a thief and liar. As he got further into his role of being a boy scout, he would immerse himself into reading the advertisements that were a part of his handbook. The numbers and lists of things to master gave him satisfaction because he now had something to conquest and achieve. He now had a list of things to …show more content…
Dwight was his father figure and not only thought of him continuously but described him as someone who “thought I was smarter than everyone else. The trouble with me was, I thought other people couldn’t tell what I was thinking. The trouble with me was, I didn’t think” (pg. 95). Now he not only had the troubles already present in his life but a father figure that did not care at all and was persistent on berating Jack for everything he did. Dwight seemed to gain satisfaction from exercising his new power over other people and controlled Jack’s life to the point where any little free time was full of a heavy load of chores given to him by Dwight himself. Having his sense of self stay intact is even more surprising due to part of his life that involves having delinquent friends, drinking, stealing and causing trouble. Despite his poor grades, record of poor behavior, and unfavorable life conditions; Jack continues to strive for the self he always seems to be imagining . But even so, his unfavorable conditions at home and his behavior seem to be justified by the fact that he is pushed to do things such as make trouble in order to escape the hell he lives

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