In The Garden Of The North American Martyrs Analysis

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In his book, In the Garden of the North American Martyrs, Tobias Wolff explores the central themes of transparency and honesty. Although he does not explicitly say whether it is right or wrong to portray a fake persona to the rest of the world, the reader can take away a few big questions from three of the stories in the book, particularly “Smokers”, “Worldly Goods”, and “In the Garden of the North American Martyrs”. At what point do we stop being ourselves when we want to become someone else? Wolff explores this question in the story “Smokers”. The narrator loses his own identity in an attempt to become someone he is not. He meets another boy named Eugene who he does not like because they both share similar backgrounds. Very early in the story it becomes clear that the narrator wants to be associated with the rich boys and spend time with them. Talbot, a boy who attends the same school, meets these criteria and becomes the perfect target for the narrator to befriend. The narrator begins to smoke, write essays for him, and joins the basketball team, things he would not likely have done without the intention to become friends with Talbot. Towards the end of the story, the narrator demonstrates a dark image that was not present in the beginning. His envy towards…show more content…
He does not understand why people do some of the things they do, even when they know it is wrong. There is an interesting detail in the story, “Davis tried to read after dinner that night but the story made no sense to him. He could not understand why the people did what they did or said what they said”. Wolff uses this small event to emphasize how Davis’ own honesty and transparency was blinding him to the evil of others. Davis failed to realize why most people lie, and that lying is unfortunately an essential part of the way we live. It is important to be honest and genuine as long as we are aware that others may not think it

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