This Boys Life

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade November 2001

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"He who fear corruption fears life" Saul Alinksy In the memoir This Boys Life, Tobias Wolff narrates his troubled childhood. Toby was a boy who's life had been painstakeningly been ripped apart by his stepfather, Dwight. He used his ability to lie and deceive to cover up his insecurities about himself and fuel his need for his mother's happiness. The byproducts of these frauds and fantasies build new problems, such as his addiction to alcohol. His downfall, staged at an early time in his life, through his pre-teen and teen years, was exceptionally horrendous. Yet, he got through it by the one thing that was ruining it all for him at the same time: lies, deceptions and illusions.

We find Toby at the beginning of the book, moving West with his mother, Caroline. She is divorced from his father. They never stay in one place very long, so Toby has to keep making friends.

His constant readjustment of style and persona only agitate the one true thing in his life, himself. After a barrage of abusive boyfriends, Caroline finds Dwight. They marry. Toby and she finally settle down in the quiet town of Concrete. Once again, Toby has to make new friends. Dwight is a daily strain as if Toby has enough trouble finding new people to hang out with. He finally befriends Arthur Gayle, "The uncoolest boy in the sixth grade" (Wolff 107). While he knows at a glance that Arthur and he should be friends. But because he is afraid of what people will think of him, he holds out on the friendship. His insecurities get the best of him every time. "I was subject to fits of feelings myself unworthy, some how deeply at fault." (Wolff 11) Toby and Caroline share a "special connection". They want...