This Boys Life

This boys life demonstrates the struggle to find an identity in a harsh environment
As one the most conspicuous themes displayed in this boy’s life it is evident to the reader, from the outset and throughout the memoir that jack struggles immensely within his own identity and belonging, displaying within the first few pages, his “dreams of transformation”, transformation and change would remain something he yearned for consistently throughout his formative years even at the age 16 as the novel draws to a close. It can be said that jack struggles to find a sense of self regardless of the environment of his excretion to change is concentrated not only in Chinook but at the times he used to things he seemingly had always craved.

Tobias Wolff, the author of main protagonist of “this boy’s life” has a sense of self that is very much unstable which is evident throughout the book as it follows him for age 10 to 16. Jacks struggle in navigate his shifting sense of self through hardships is one of the most consistent messages put in the reader, specifically during jacks time in Seattle. While living in Seattle, jack begins to act on his rebellious desires, coating himself as a rebel, an image celebrated among boys in the 1950’s due to the notoriety of movie stars like James dean. In scenes with Taylor and Silver, jack is very different to how he portrays himself in his mother’s company, this is one of the many times we see the opposing sides of jack’s identity. At this stage the worse jacks behaviour is, the better he feels about himself but despite his actions, he is still very much ‘uncool’ , he is still at heart ,an insecure child. This is demonstrated in his interest in the Mickey Mouse club, despite his overly rude and sexual comments about the girls in the show; he admits to genuinely liking it ,and even writes to Annette his letters abundant with lies to impress her. Through these examples we see Jack has a desperation to be loved that is most apparently when...