This Boy's Life

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The Miracle of Shaping

Behind all individuals there is reason and rhyme to how they became who they are. This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff is just that; the story of a boy taking what life throws at him and making a person of it. The unique creation of Tobias’ life was fundamentally impacted by the overall premise of power and supporting representation of singing, lying, and guns that mixed together throughout the years forging a distinctive existence unto itself.

For some people, to sing is to make musical sounds with their voice; but to Tobias and his family, to sing was to experience emotion and become empowered in situations. It was symbolic. Whenever she was singing, Tobias knew his mother was happy and often that things were about to change. One day when he got home his “mother was in the apartment…she was singing to herself. Her color was high. Her movements quick and sure, everything about her flushed with gaiety” (Wolff 30). He learned then that his mother had gotten together her courage and decided they were going to leave Roy and their life in Utah and move to Seattle. Singing served as a way for Tobias to take control of joy in a melancholy situation and create connection with those around him. In the car with Pearl while waiting for Dwight to come back from another evening at the bar, he and Pearl “could not stop [themselves] from singing along…as if to each other, smiling, face to face” (Wolff 134). Singing created silent understanding for both people; who usually could not tolerate each other. Tobias followed in his mother’s suit of singing when happy as well. As a conclusion to the book, Tobias writes that while he and Chuck “weren’t friends anymore, [they] both had cause to rejoice…[they] sang along with the radio and shared a bottle of Canadian Club” (Wolff 286). For the people in Tobias’s life, singing created joy and self-empowerment; they took control of the bad in life and sang.

Everything about a gun says power. It is a deadly...
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