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Indexing in This Boys Life

Uploaded by swaungcenter on Apr 18, 2004

In This Boys Life, by Tobias Wolff, Wolff uses indexing, or references, to an easily recognizable event, to validate and further supplement the feelings or thoughts of his characters. Some of the types of indexing he uses are songs, references to historical and non-historical events, and vehicles that were in style. These are things that most, if not all, of his readers will recognize and associate with a certain type of feeling or action.
One example of this is the song at the beginning. Mood Indigo is a song that describes the suffering of a man whose girl had left him. This is exactly the predicament that they left Roy, Tobias’ mother’s old boyfriend, in. From a selection in the song, “I always get that mood indigo, Since my baby said goodbye, And in the evening when the lights are low, Im so lonely I could cry.” This is probably how Roy is feeling at this point, having been deserted.
A second example is the time in Seattle when the boys, Tobias, Terry Taylor, and Terry Silver, witness a Thunderbird in the streets below one of their houses. The narrator states that Thunderbirds had only been out for a year, which meant that they were all new. Thunderbirds were new, fast, and very cool. The author put this in to support the boys’ reason for vandalizing it. This car and owner was everything that they wanted to be, and every thing that they were not. “One look was enough to see that he [the owner] was everything we were not, his life a progress of satisfactions we had no hope of attaining in any future we could seriously propose for ourselves” (Wolff 45-46). This man is cool, they are not. So, thus, they are justified in egging the car and its occupant. The author uses the image of the Thunderbird to set the reader alongside the boys and against the driver of the Thunderbird.
A third example of this is the boys watching The Mickey Mouse Club after school each day. It is used to show that Tobias is leading two lives. There is the one that he leads at home, the perfect one, the one that obeys rules and laws. Then there is the one that he displays when...

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Uploaded by:   swaungcenter

Date:   04/18/2004

Category:   Literature

Length:   2 pages (509 words)

Views:   1744

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