The Rich Brother By Tobias Wolff

1098 words - 4 pages

The short story, "The Rich Brother," by Tobias Wolff represents the same concept that everyday people all over the world encounter. This portrays how having siblings can be an enormous part of a persons life. The rivalry between siblings is often very competitive, but at the same time similar to magnets. When they are not connected it may seem they are independent and whole, but when examined closely it is obvious they are really relying on each other to function properly. Although Pete and Donald's life are separate and completely different, they are in fact very dependent on each other.

The meaning of dependence is the act of being influenced, relying on, or needing someone for aid or support. Dependence is one of the main characteristics that both Pete and Donald portray without it being easily comprehended. Pete needs Donald as much as Donald needs Pete on an emotional level. Throughout this short story Donald is the one that seems to have a life incomparable to Pete's but both brothers are missing something, and that something is each other. The story begins with Wolff describing the two brothers, Pete is the conceited successful brother with a life people dream about, and Donald is the younger brother who attempts to do something for everyone else when he could. Donald had made odd decisions, such as going to live on a farm in which members of his community had bought to form a family of faith. When Donald became unhappy he became dependent on Pete because he had no where to go, no car, and no money. Pete took action and drove out to pick him up to bring him back to his house. If Pete did not care about Donald, even though they are brothers, he would have made Donald be independent and live in the real world. Pete's attachment to Donald urged him to help him get back on his feet and that shows dependency on both parts. Even thought Pete does not show caring emotions, his actions say all the words. For example: Donald said, "Pete do you ever dream about me?" Pete replied with, "What kind of question is that? Of course I don't dream about you." He said untruthfully. (pg.367). This is one of the only parts in this short story that shows the reader a very small part of Pete's soft side. Another example compares in a similar way that Pete does in fact have a connection with his only brother Donald. "There was something wrong with me, and you were helping me out. Taking care of me. Just the two of us. I don't know where everyone else was supposed to be." Pete said. (pg. 369) If someone were to analyze only this part of the story it would portray that in his dream he depended on Donald. When he says it was just the two of them, it gives the reader an idea that was the way it was supposed to be, that Pete didn't need anyone else in the world to help him but only needed the person he could truly rely upon. Dependency is one of the main concealed habits between siblings, not only growing up, but continuously throughout one others life....

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