Passage Analysis Essay

Submitted By hutchinm
Words: 298
Pages: 2

“I was subject to fits of feeling myself unworthy, somehow deeply at fault. It didn’t take much to bring this sensation to life, along with the certainty that everybody but my mother saw through me and did not like what they saw. There was no reason for me to have this feeling. I thought id left it back in Florida, together with my fear of fighting and my shyness with girls, but here it was, come to meet me.” (Page 9)

This passage from Wolff’s memoir, This Boy’s Life, is significant as it introduces the protagonist, Jack, at a far deeper level than before. This allows us, as the readers, to feel a greater sense of connection to Jack as we get an insight into his profound thoughts and feelings.

Wolff contributes to the reader’s understanding of Jack’s character through this passage. At this point, we see the first, of many, noticeable changes to Jack’s character. No longer is he hopeful that “everything (is) going to change“ (pg4). We are instead exposed to Jack’s seemingly negative and self-conscious state of mind that has “Certainty that everybody… did not like what they saw”.

Although, this mindset essentially drives Jack’s desire to ultimately change everything. Further on in the memoir, we observe as Jack transforms himself into someone he is not in order to attempt to belong in his ever-changing surroundings. This is not, however, the same sort of change he once dreamt of.

The theme of guilt is also broadened in this passage. Jack feels unworthy and “somehow