Analysis of The Rich Brother by Tobias Wolff
Tobias Wolff’s “The Rich Brother” is a story of two brothers, Donald and Pete. These brothers have very contrasting lifestyles; Pete is a successful businessman with a wife and kids. Donald, on the other hand, is an outcast. He’s unemployed and irresponsible. He lives his life as a vagabond. Despite these facts, the successful brother, Pete, still lacks the self-esteem he desperately craves. Therefore he tries to make his brother, Donald, feel foolish with every chance he gets.
Pete talks to Donald in a very condescending and patronizing manner. For example, when Donald spills a soda in Pete’s car, Pete responds sarcastically, “Great, just great” (293). He then later yells at Donald for not getting gas. He says to Donald, “…Why don’t you use your head? What if we run out?” (302). Shortly after the pop-spilling incident takes place, Pete begins to pester Donald about explaining how he got kicked out of the religious community. Donald says to Pete, “You have this compulsion to make me look foolish” (295). Pete replies that Donald makes himself look foolish.
Pete believes his ethics and morals are superior to Donald’s. Pete believes that a person should be responsible and that success is based on wealth; Therefore, he is very frugal with his money and believes it is irresponsible to just give it away. So when Donald gives a hundred dollars to a stranger (Mick Webster), Pete sharply says “Why did...