This Boy's Life-Tobia Wolff

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Toby’s Fight Against Himself

Young people are most often guided by their parents and guardians of what they should or shouldn’t do. However, some unfortunate ones are left alone to find their own paths. In their search of making their own destiny; some young people choose to fight against all obstacles to reach goals that will lead to a successful fortune, while some will walk an uneasy way and repeat themselves in the misery of self-destructiveness and self-sabotaging behaviors. In Tobias Wolff’s memoir This Boy’s Life, the author presents a life that is built up on continuous self-destructive decisions; making himself his own worst enemy and causing all kinds of pitiful situations which he hopes to change and evolve into a better self, only to once again find him fallen into the very trap set up by no one but himself.

Some of Toby’s self-destructiveness is due to his background. He was raised by a single divorced mother; and her failing to take a father’s place to become a powerful guardian to correct and care for Toby’s early mischievous signs contributes to Toby’s self-sabotaging behavior later on in his teen years. Toby’s mother-Rosemary is a victim of domestic violence herself and therefore, according to Toby: She’s never been able to spank me. The few times she tried I came away laughing. She couldn’t even raise her voice convincingly. That wasn’t the way she wanted to be with me, and she didn’t think I needed it anyway...it was just the age I was going through, I’d grow out of it. I was a good boy. (Wolff 60) Toby knows exactly how to take advantage of other people’s weaknesses and in this case, with his mother. Rosemary is unable to monitor and condition Toby’s misbehaver and she chooses only to see what she wants to see. When Toby smokes and finds himself in an argument with his friend Silver about Toby bluffing about killing a turkey, Toby is irritate when his friends show disbelief and he scratches obscene words on the school bathroom’s new...
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