How Does Wolff Affect the Way That We See Dwight?

Category: English

Set in backdrop 1950s-1960s America, Tobias Wolff's memoir, This Boy's Life entitles his readers to feel a sense of sarcastic consideration that the depth of Dwight's character is limited to brutality, deceitfulness, manipulativeness, and pettishness.

Dwight's inability to perceive his own faults and yet, tenaciously pick the faults of others around him is conclusive of his immature character. Jack is constantly reprimanded by Dwight that the "trouble with [Jack] was" and often assumes that Jack believed he was "smarter than everyone else", or that Jack "didn't think." Dwight enforces his own perceptions of Jack onto Jack himself. And it represents the idea, that Dwight is narrow-minded, tyrannical and insisting of his allegations of Jack, as a true part of Jack's identity. Therefore also positioning the readers image of Dwight as not only pettish but also mentally brutal against an adolescent boy who has a lack of identity. Correspondingly, Dwight's flaws are exemplified especially when Jack is taken from Seattle to "change" his rebellious personality. While on the road, Dwight "pull[s] the car hard … [in order to] hit a beaver" which foreshadows Dwight's violent behaviour, and that Jack in the near future, may end up just like the beaver—"dead". Furthermore, the beaver is also symbolic of Jack's future with Dwight, as during the past two years, while it had been "left to cure", it became "pulp" instead—a failure. Which is similar to Jack's situation, because he decided to live in Chinook to "change", but living in Chinook with Dwight has only turned him into a "mould [that] was white and transparent". Jack, rather than improving for the better, he deteriorated within the time he was under Dwight's abuse. Additionally, the symbolic colour of "white" that layered itself on the beaver—who is an image of Jack—suggests to readers that Jack, just like Dwight, hides himself under a mask. And Wolff also elucidates the notion that Dwight has made a lasting impression...