The Secrecy of A Boy's Life
Tobias Wolff's, "This Boy's Life", is centered on Jack Wolff's struggle to keep everything a secret and finding his true self. Jack feels his loved ones would be safe and unharmed if he kept his life in secrecy. Jack does not comprehend that keeping secrets from loved ones will cause greater pain if and when they do find out. He has no intentions of doing wrong, but it may come across that way to other people that see Jack as just another foolish child.
As a young boy, Toby Wolff traveled long and far with his beloved mother to "change [their] luck" for good (4). Toby's mother was fleeing from a "violent man" that she was afraid of (6), and Toby was also going to have a fresh start by changing his name. He felt that the name Jack "would charge [him] with some strength" (8). Though his mother did not like the thought of it, she agreed in letting Toby change his name. But under one condition: Jack had to attend daily catechism classes. After Jack's incident with Sister James during archery class, he began to feel lonely, skipped classes, and lied about being a "backbiter, stealing from [his] father, and having bad thoughts" (21, 22). Clearly, Jack just wanted to fit in, but was unsure how to. He meant to hurt no one, but to just have everyone accept him.
Jack was very fond of his toys, especially his Winchester .22 rifle, but his mother was completely against it. Eventually, she "caved in" and said he could only have it if "[Jack] promised never to take it out or even touch it except when she and Roy were with [Jack]" (24). Jack was only able to keep his simple promise for only a short week, then he started to clean it, polish it, and finally aimed it out the window and killed a squirrel with the deadly rifle. When his mother came home, Jack told her that there was a dead animal in the street. The two of them were both animal lovers, so she kindly picked up the limp animal and they buried it. That night, Jack "blubbered in bed,...