A Struggle For Identity
In the memoir This Boys Life by Tobias Wolff, Toby is continually attempting to reinvent himself for the recognition of others. As he and his mom travel to different states to run away from certain men or for the sake of money, Toby begins to change slowly. During this journey, Toby is left with no beneficial male influence. This causes him to develop few behavioral problems. For instance, since he does not get discipline by his mother, he does not know any better. In Wolffs memoir, Toby often feels like a fraud, he frequently feels alone, and does not understand who he truly is.
The acts that Toby accomplishes does not change him, he often feels like a phony.
Throughout Tobys life from a young teen to a young adult, he lies to himself. He lies enough to believe his lies are true. It was truth known only to me, but I believed in it more than I believed in the facts arrayed against it, (Wolff 213). In this case, Toby lies to himself to encourage himself, and to move on from.. Not only does he think he is a fake, but also is lonely.
Even though toby has many friends, he often feels empty and alone. Even though he has a close bond with his mother, it is not enough. So I passed the hours after school. Sometimes, not often, I felt lonely. Then I would go home to Roy, (13). What he needs is a friend that can give him advice and hear him out instead of the friends he usually has who make fun of him and make him do whatever they want him to do. EXAMPLEEEEs
Toby has many incidents that keep him from realizing his true identity. In the beginning he wants to change himself by becoming a whole new person, a better person, a more improved him. I didnt come to Utah to be the same boy Id been before. I had my own dreams of transformation(8). By hanging out with bad friends, it influences Toby to be more like them. This is because to him, his friends are important to him and he does not want to risk losing them. The crowd he spends time with and the events he does with them take him farther from who he truly is deep inside.
Tobys position in feeling like a fraud, in having emptiness within himself, and finding himself shows how difficult his life can be. His effort in trying to become someone new slowly does its job and Toby changes.
Wolff, Tobias (1989). This Boys Life
New York: New York