This Boy's Life

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Tobias Wolff Memoir
Tobias Wolff opens up his Memoir with the image of him and his mother fleeing to find a better life in the Old West. Tobias wants to start from a “blank page” and decides to go as far as changing his name to Jack. Tobias feels guilty and unworthy and has extraordinary desire to transform himself into the boy he fantasizes about being. Tobias wants to be the privileged, independent boy that he describes himself as, in his letter to Alice, “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. When I wasn’t busy on the ranch I raised German shepherds and played for several athletic teams” (Wolff 13). “Jack” is determined to impress Alice with his made up image of himself as a: free, self-relying adventurer, talented, and decently wealthy boy; all of which Jack isn’t, nor possesses. Jack does not own a horse, and the most adventure he has ever underwent, was the time he tried to find uranium under piles of rocks. More than anything Jack wants to have a loving father and a real family. His biological father, Arthur Wolff, lives separate of the family in Connecticut; Arthur even ended all of his Child Support payments for Jack which were critical for the survival of the family. Jack’s family does not have enough money to buy or support a German shepherd so there is no possible way he could have raised one. Lastly, even though Jack is a semi-athletic kid, he never continues with the sport/activity that he picks up and usually ends up dropping it after some time. Jack does not attempt to realize that this image of him is a fantasy, and can only keep dreaming of transforming himself into the charming young man he so heavily desires to become. Eventually Jack begins to live in his “untrue” fantasies because it is the only thing that provides him with stability in his otherwise extremely unstable life. In changing his...
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