This Boy's Life

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade October 2001

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Essay: This Boy's Life While reminiscing in their pasts, many Americans reflect on their childhood as a bad experience. In the novel This Boy's Life, Toby Wolff is a young man who had been steered in the wrong direction his entire life. Because of his horrific family life experiences, and his friends who had a negative influence upon him, Toby was headed down the wrong path. Toby has a moral conscience, yet because of his situation, and his negative family and social life, he neglects to rely upon it in multiple circumstances.

Although Toby behaves immorally, and engages in illegal activities, he has and shows, his moral beliefs and values. At the beginning of the story, Toby finds himself accompanying his friends in vandalism by the act of egg throwing. "The silence made me uncomfortable and in my discomfort I grinned at Silver... (Page 47)"� His young friends displayed no mercy while committing their crime, yet Toby realized his wrong doing.

Toby knew he was out of place in this situation, but stereotypically, as young boys do, Toby wanted to impress his friends by acting "macho"� and carrying on without regret or guilt. In the following passage, Toby and his fellow classmate, Arthur, engage in a physical brawl, and Toby reflects upon his actions. "There hadn't been a moment since the fight began when Pepper (Arthur's dog) wasn't worrying me in some way, if only to bark and bounce around me and finally it was this more than anything that made me lose heart. I liked dogs. I liked dogs more than I liked people, and I expected them to like me back (page 110)."� In this excerpt, Toby reveals a softer side of his personality to the reader. Toby explains that he understood his wrong doing, yet...



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