Analysis Of Tobias Wolff 's ' This Boy 's Life '

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Tobias Wolff’s memoir, This Boy’s Life, concentrates on the intense physical and emotional abuse Toby endured throughout his adolescence. Toby spent the majority of his juvenile years wandering around the United States as his divorced mother struggled to find employment and deprived her son of any affection. Eventually, Toby’s mother Rosemary met a man named Dwight who promised her and her son a better life. Rosemary makes the decision to move Toby to Chinook, Washington with Dwight in an attempt to evaluate a new living situation. After only a few days of living with Dwight, Toby is already a victim of Dwight’s relentless brutality. Despite the cruel treatment, Toby lies to his mother because he knows Dwight can offer a more stable life, albeit a challenging one. Toby’s life instantly deteriorates upon moving to Chinook, as Dwight’s cruel treatment and demeaning words ultimately beat Toby into a state of worthlessness. Living in the state of abuse and failure proves to be a formidable task for Toby, and in order to cope with the trauma, he buries himself in the recesses of his imagination. As a child, the only option of escape is through thoughts, but as Toby moves on to high school, the emphasis of escape shifts from mental to physical. Toby 's corrosive life of domestic abuse and consistent failure fuel his desire for mental and physical escape from the horrors of his reality. Mentally, Toby frequently makes use of his imagination, which becomes his primary defense

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