This Boy's Life

“It is the ability to dream that saves Jack and Rosemary in the end. To what extent do you agree?”
Essay written by Ruby Griffith

In the memoir by Tobias Wolff ‘This Boy’s Life’, the main protagonist Jack, who is Tobias Wolff himself and his mother Rosemary both had vivid dreams and personal motivations in their lives. Jack as a child had huge desires to transform himself into the boy he fantasized about being to create stability in such an unstable life and to suppress his feelings of guilt and unworthiness. Rosemary as a mother was fiercely independent and never lost hope that her and her son’s situation would improve. In the end both Jack and Rosemary’s ability to dream overcame situations they had been faced with and ended up saving them.

During Wolff’s childhood, he masked his true self in what he desired to be. “The first duty is to assume a pose. What the second is, no one has yet discovered” – Oscar Wilde. Jack’s imagination was huge. His ability to dream couldn’t be denied by anyone. He wanted to be brave, admirable and strong, just like the characters in his Jack London books, which is what inspired him to change his name to Jack. One of the most important things to jack were his Winchester rifle and his relationship with his mother, which he would do anything for including fleeing the city last minute if that's what he had to do.

Moving from place to place wasn’t something out of the ordinary for Rosemary and Jack. Rosemary always pictured that everything will wok out better in the end. In Wolff’s memoir however, things don’t exactly work out all that well when Rosemary’s hopes and expectations of Dwight turns out to be a terrible mistake, just like all her other old abusive ex-lovers. Rosemary’s determined nature and open mind allow her to have dreams of a better life elsewhere, which were thoughts that were too familiar to her. Dwight was nothing but an abusive, selfish man with no heart and did everything to ruin Jack’s happiness and...