The Rich Brother By Tobias Wolff Analysis

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Nearly everyone has a different definition of the word rich; however, the inference can be made that many people consider someone who is" rich" to be plentiful, abundant and content. "The Rich Brother," by Tobias Wolff, is a short story about two vastly different brothers. Pete, the older brother, who has a family and a stable job, and Donald, the younger brother, who has neither a family nor a stable job; however, he seems to be more generous (324). Due to the brothers being completely opposite, controversy is created as to whom Wolff is foreshadowing in the title as the rich brother. Many people debate who is alluded to as "The Rich Brother"; however, after further analysis of the definition of rich, one can infer that
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Donald is portrayed as man that is constantly searching. Pete even makes the claim, that all Donald does is take and take (335). He is looking for new jobs and a "family environment" (327). Wolff conveys that he cannot hold a steady job and is constantly moving around. The reader also discovers that Donald has joined multiple religious organizations. By Donald not having a family, the reader can make the inference that that he is searching for that sense of belonging because he does not have anywhere to "fit in." He is missing that sense of fulfillment and contentment in life (327). Pete gives Donald a $100 bill because Donald does not have any money, for even necessities. Through Pete performing this act of kindness the reader sees his compassionate and caring side. Pete also discovers that Donald was asked to leave the previous religious group that he enjoyed; nonetheless, Pete feels the need to go and find and help Donald (325). Donald is given many different chances to mend the broken relationship he has with Pete; however, Pete continuously screws up these opportunities, by spilling his drink in Pete's car and inviting a stranger — that smokes — in Pete's car (332). However, the biggest mistake is when Donald offers his $100 bill to the "stranger," Webster (334). Donald does have any concept of wealth or riches, he offers the money his older brother worked incredibly hard for to Webster. Donald does not know how to handle money at all and he is not content with his life. After reading the short story, "The Rich Brother," there is an anomaly created as to who Wolff is referring to as the rich brother, however, after further investigation the reader can infer that Pete is the rich brother, and not

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