The Measure of a Man
And in this way, smiling, nodding to the music, he went another mile or so and pretended that he was not already slowing down, that he was not going to turn back, that he would be able to drive on like this alone, and have the right answer when his wife stood before him in the doorway of his home and asked, Where is he? Where is your brother?(Wolff 269)
What is the measure of a rich man? Is it his material possessions, the extent of his spirituality, or is it how he chooses to share his wealth with others, whether it is material or spiritual? Are we really our "brother's keeper" or are we keepers of only our own wants and desires? These are all questions posed by Tobias Wolff in his short story, "The Rich Brother." However, he provides an underlying answer to these questions.
Is Pete really the richer brother because he has more material possessions? Wolff leads the reader to believe that this statement is not accurate. Although Pete has more money and material possessions than his brother, Donald is truly the richer brother because of his spiritual insight and the care he exhibits toward Pete. Money alone is not the measure of a rich man. Wolff conveys this message through Pete's values, his attitude toward Donald, and through religious symbolism.
Wolff makes it very evident to the reader what Pete's values are throughout the story. When Pete has the dream about being blind it allows the reader to draw the conclusion that he is blinded by his own wealth. He cannot see what is really important in life. Pete is more concerned about being seen as a prosperous individual than he is about being seen as a spiritual individual. Because...