On Being a Real Westerner
What is the plot of the essay?
Wolff, a 13 year old is desperate to get hold of his stepfather Roy’s gun. Wolff’s mother doesn’t approve of him getting the gun, but Roy talks her into giving it to Wolff. Even though Wolff is told not to use the gun alone, he goes against his mother’s warning and aims at a squirrel. Being an animal lover, he feels guilty. 2.
What effect did the gun have on Roy? Is there a hidden meaning to acquiring this object? Roy carried the gun with confidence. He had his own style. He had been carrying a gun since he was ten, and became a soldier in the Vietnam War after that. He felt comfortable working with guns because it made him feel macho.
What is the relation of the character Roy to the author? How has the author described Roy? Roy is the author’s stepdad. Roy was Wolff’s role model. He describes him as a handsome man in the way that appeals to boys. He had a tattoo, he’d been to war, and he also kept a silence about it that was full of heroic implication.
What role does the mother play in the essay?
The mother is very protective of her child. She does not want him to even touch the gun because she is afraid he is too young and will misuse it. 5.
What does the phrase, “as everything else is hidden in the apartment” mean? Wolff’s mom is very protective of him and doesn’t trust him with everything. Wolff likes to fiddle around with everything, so his mom hides things that might not be appropriate for his age. 6.
What is the emotion that the author goes through as he watches the innocent people walking below him? He is crazy about holding a gun to the point where he seems sadistic. He was so desperate to use it that he shot a squirrel. 7.
Explain paragraph 8 in your own words.
The only way to enjoy power is when you can recognize and fear it at the same time. People who have power go crazy, but people who don’t have it are in fear. A person with power would go crazy with it...
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