Tobias Wolff: An Analysis Of Essay In This Boy's Life

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Tobias Wolff is the author of This Boy’s Life. Tobias, or Toby for short, writes this memoir about his own life when he was a young boy. Toby lived a difficult childhood and caused a lot of trouble because of it. He didn’t grow up with a father figure, and he was constantly moving around because his mother couldn’t stay put. Even though his childhood living situation was terrible, it doesn’t exonerate the juvenile acts he performed in his judgement. Based on what Toby went through when he was young, some readers may be tempted to blame his parental figures for the failures he had in his childhood, but Wolff makes it clear in his memoir that he blames himself. Throughout This Boy’s Life, the author blames Toby, himself, for his own childhood …show more content…
He liked to embellish his stories, especially when telling his friends. One time Toby told them that he shot a massive turkey, and no one believed him. He was so angry with his friends that he carved the vulgar words “fuck you” into the bathroom stall (77). When it got brought to the principle’s attention, he blamed Toby. Somehow Toby lied his way out of it even when knowing he was guilty. Now because of his success, Toby tried lying in another instance. He was in need of some money, so he planned forge a check from the bank by the name of Thomas Findon, a name on a library card Toby stole. He walked the street for over an hour scoping out cashiers behind the counters, looking for the most gullible one. He ended up going with the lady behind the counter at the drugstore. He walked in confident that he had a strong alibi and that his lying skills were too good to not work. After getting up to the counter, Toby asked if he could write out a check for fifty dollars. The lady then asked if Toby had any identification and Toby lied saying, “Of course” (195). He reached for his pocket knowing he didn’t have identification for the name of Thomas Findon, so he lied again and told her that he forgot his wallet. Toby knew what he was doing was wrong, but he did it anyway. Instead of finding another way to get the money, he instantly thought of lying because it had always worked for him in the past. …show more content…
He wanted to change his ways so bad but didn’t know how or where to start. Wolff even writes, “In my heart I despised the life I led in Seattle. I was sick of it and had no idea how to change it” (89). This shows that there was some regret in his heart for the things he had been doing, but not enough to actually stop him. Toby felt this way often, thinking things such as, “I was subject to fits of feeling myself unworthy, somehow deeply at fault,” (11) and “in the past, I had been ready, even when innocent, to believe any evil thing of myself. Now that I had grounds of guilt, I could no longer feel it” (134). He always had this feeling of guilt on his mind and couldn’t get it out. Toby also struggled thinking other people didn’t like him. No matter who he met, he always had the feeling that they knew he was a troubled kid. One instance where Toby felt this way was at church with his friend Chuck Bolger. Chuck’s father was the minister at the church and Toby felt that Mr. Bolger would “see through [him] and be disgusted” (239). Even though Toby didn’t know how Mr. Bolger felt about him, he still had the feeling of guilt deep down inside him. A reason Toby couldn’t get away from acting like a delinquent could be because of the guilt he put on himself. No matter what he did, he always thought poorly of himself and decided that he could not change. This feeling

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