This Boy's Life

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Elvis Pizano
English 1A
Dr. Borofka
31 March 2013

Prompt: Compare and contrast This Boy’s Life and The Odyssey as a journey story.

This Boy’s Odyssey
As the story of Jack progresses in This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolf, general situations of which Jack is dealing with coincides with situations and events also depicted in the epic The Odyssey written by Homer. Both stories are written in a sense of progress. They are strongly alike and in alike in various forms of features and aspects in which the story lines fall into. In This Boy’s Life, Jack and his mother, Rosemary, travel from city to city to better themselves and to try to find a better life for themselves. The story is explained through hardships and various different thinking forms of different characters but mostly those of Jack. Identically, Telemachus from The Odyssey shares common tributes with Jack in ways which define and show their advancement into adulthood. As there are similarities, both novels also have differences in which they tell apart from each other. Despite the different settings, both This Boy’s Life and The Odyssey show both similarities and differences in what the main characters are trying to protect, the hardships throughout both journeys, and developed characteristics of bravery and confidence along the way. Aside from the differences and common content between both novels, This Boy’s Life and The Odyssey showed strong differences in their type of setting in which both took place. This Boy’s Life was starred during the 1950’s during post war years. The country was not in its greatest shape during this time due to the recent world war that had just been present. During this time the main character from This Boy’s Life, Jack, represents a few concepts that were occurring during the 1950’s. Jack is depicted through the story showing a few of the common clothing styles during that time. Jack at one point is illustrated slicking his hair back and sagging his pants a bit just underneath the waist, something that was common during these years. The story also shows that during this time, many civilians were in tough economic times and jobs were scarce for everybody. On the other hand, The Odyssey was illustrated in Ancient Greece after the Trojan War. During this time, there were almost no similarities between both stories. In The Odyssey, there were no cars yet, no laundry washers, no massive advanced ships, no clothing near to that of This Boy’s Life and most certainly any guns. Battles in The Odyssey were still fought with shield and swords unlike This Boy’s Life, was explained to have been during post war years were guns and military missiles were present. In both This Boy’s Life and The Odyssey, the main characters both search for help and try to aid their beloved mothers. Jack is a small boy who still has a far ways to understanding life and the type of setting that took place during the 1950’s. He has only his mother for which he could truly call family and relies on the happiness and motivation from each other to live an acceptable lifestyle. Jack is influenced by his peers and items to become the type of common young boy he is. Jack isn’t a good noble angel but neither is he a ruthless troublemaker. His mother is always working and is more than often not home. Jack goes through several events in his childhood that make him realize his mother and his “family” in general isn’t what they want. He realizes that he could become a help to his mother and tries to aid her but with the situations he is in while growing up make it hard for him to take care of his problems and still be able to help his dear mother out. As for Telemachus, he is put into a situation in which he must stand up for himself and his mother in order to restore or help provide order to his father’s land. Telemachus goes off on a journey to find the whereabouts of his lost father in order to aid his mother in the tense suitor situation she has been put into....
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