This Boy's Life by Tobias Wolff Essay

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This Boy's Life by Tobias Wolff

Mark Twain once said, "We are creatures of outside influences -- we originate nothing within. Whenever we take a new line of thought and drift into a new line of belief and action, the impulse is always suggested from the outside." In the memoir This Boy’s Life, by Tobias Wolff Jack shows that he is a creature of outside influence. Some examples of this are that he copies what his friends do, he doesn't try to shape his own life, and he is heavily influenced by the male figures in his life. Throughout this novel, Jack does whatever his friends do. When he was living in Seattle with his mother, he was influenced by his new friends to do bad things. His friends, Silver and Terry were kids with no
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He starts ditching school more often, smokes and drinks, and his grades fall. To keep Dwight and his mom from finding out, he forges his grades. Jack does not shape his own life. Many times in the novel Jack imagines who he wants to be, and gives other people the impression that he's someone else, but he never tries to achieve anything to become what he imagines. Early on, he had a pen pal he wrote to, “We were supposed to write once a month but I wrote at least once a week, ten, twelve, fifteen pages at a time. I represented myself to her as the owner of a palomino horse named Smiley who shared my encounters with mountain lions, rattlesnakes, and packs of coyotes on my father’s ranch, the Lazy B”(13). This is a good example, its shows how he imagines things and tries to make other people believe that’s who he is, which happens numerous times in the memoir. When he arrived at the Welch’s farm, he saw himself being in the same situation that the Welchs were in. This shows that he has no ambition to become anything, and just assumes he will have a bad life. All this is mostly due to the fact that no one inspires him to do anything. Another example of this is his attitude about school. He wants to be good and educated like his brother, yet he does horribly in school and gets worse every year. Throughout the book, Jack is heavily influenced by the male figures in his life. His father leaving his mother left
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