This Boy's Life Analysis

1098 Words5 Pages
‘I was alone before the mirror. The elegant stranger in the glass regarded me with a doubtful, almost haunted expression.’ Tobias Wolff’s, ‘This Boy’s Life’ chronicles the desire Jack feels to assume a façade, but also the bare truth that seeps through, no matter how many ‘coats’ are applied in an attempt to conceal the appalling faults of his personality. Jack knows himself, he understand his flaws and weaknesses, however he does not like these traits about himself and therefore despises who he is. It is these feelings of inadequacy and self-dislike that eventually lead to Jack putting up a front to preclude the undesirable characteristics about himself from being exposed. Growing up among the social pressures of the 1950’s, Jack feels…show more content…
Being exposed to situations of adversity a boy his age would not usually have to face, Jack yearns to meet the expectations of society in the 1950’s, especially that of manhood. The expectations of males in the 1950’s era was to be masculine and the dominant figure of the house. The men Jack looked up to as role models where men who had been to war and owned guns. Although it is easy to see in the first passage what a poor person Roy is, from his attempts of ‘threats and occasional brutality’ to make sure Rosemary held her ‘place’, it is clear Tobias presents his younger self as blinded by Roy being ‘what a man should be’. Furthermore Jack’s use of the word ‘should’ instead of could or would, to describe Roy, signifies how, at that point, Jack thinks that all other forms of manhood, other than Roy’s, is not correct . Jack admires Roy and over his time with Roy Jack sees the control and power Roy possess over Rosemary. This leads to Jack thinking that holding ‘power and control’ is necessary for being ‘masculine’. Knowing that he does not own these traits, Jack feels as though he is not a real man and for this purpose is not in favor of who he is. Jack feels the stress of the expectations of manhood from society, he perceives himself as not being manly when comparing himself to the ‘values’ of being a man, and consequently it is these feelings of insufficiency that make him despise who he

More about This Boy's Life Analysis

Open Document