An Analysis of Two Stories in Tobias Wolff's "Back in the World" Introduction Tobias Wolff writes about people who are in the process of finding themselves and figuring out who they are supposed to be in life, often using self-deception and denial as a way to cope with their failed expectations of themselves and their troubled situation, as they see it. The characters in Wolff’s stories are all in the process of dealing with their own situation, no matter how bad or unfair it seems. This is clear in all of the short stories in Back in the World, and particularly in the stories that are the subject of this paper which are “Desert Breakdown 1968” and “The Missing Person.” Thesis After reading these two stories, the title of the book makes...The end:
..... raised her arms. A rabbit hung from each hand, swinging by its ears. Conclusion “The Missing Person” presents a tale of the emotional development of Father Leo, from lost and wandering to someone who blurs ethical boundaries when he meets Jerry, who is a true con man that affects Leo’s character in a new way and tests his own ethical boundaries. In “Desert Breadown 1968” Mark goes through a similar process of being subject to manipulation due to his own weak, selfish state of mind. While Leo is more thoughtful then selfish, the arc of both characters, from wandering souls to reclaiming their own identity, each one returns “back in the world” to who they really are. Works Cited Wolff, Tobias. Back in the World. New York: Random House, 1996.