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This Boy's Life

Tobias Wolff

Part Six, Chapters 3–5; Part Seven

Part Six, Chapters 1–2

Part Six, Chapters 3–5; Part Seven, page 2

page 1 of 2

Chapter 3

When Rosemary leaves Chinook, Pearl feels abandoned, so Jack sometimes asks her to have lunch with him at school. During one of their lunches together, Pearl mentions that Dwight is planning on driving to Seattle that night to persuade Rosemary to return with him to Chinook. Jack is disheartened to hear this, as he had hoped to see his mother the following day, after he has driven to Seattle to meet Mr. Howard at the tailor's. Now that Jack knows there is a chance Dwight may be in Seattle, Jack does not dare to go.

After talking with Pearl, Jack decides that he will break into Dwight's house while Dwight is away in Seattle. Chuck accompanies Jack to the house and is furious when Jack lingers, reading Pearl's diary and inspecting his old room. Jack steals Dwight's guns, a pair of binoculars, a hunting knife, and a leather shotgun sheath. Chuck places the stolen items in the trunk of the car and covers them with sandbags in case they are stopped on the way back to Chuck's house.

Chapter 4

The following day, Jack meets Mr. Howard and his wife at their tailor in Seattle to be fitted for a new school wardrobe. Mr. Howard is welcoming, but reminds Jack that the Hill School is difficult and may not be right for him. Mr. Howard is afraid he has been too influential in Jack's decision to attend Hill, but Jack reassures Mr. Howard that this is not the case and reiterates how excited he is for the fall semester. Jack feels loved and appreciated as Mr. and Mrs. Howard fawn over him in the tailor shop.

Chapter 5

After his visit with Mr. Howard, Jack goes into three pawnshops before finding one that will buy the items he stole from Dwight. Jack tells the pawnbroker that his father willed these items to him when he died. The pawnbroker, a rather disagreeable woman, argues with Jack about the value of the items and is only willing to offer him a small percent of what each is worth. Jack is pained when he watches her slam the barrel of his gun shut with obvious disrespect. Jack haggles with her about the prices, but accepts her final offer of sixty dollars. On his way out, Jack drops the pawn tickets into the gutter.

Part Seven: Amen

Following his trip to Seattle, Jack goes to California for the purpose of spending the summer with his father and his brother Geoffrey. Just one day after Jack arrives, his father leaves for Las Vegas with his girlfriend, leaving Jack with the keys to a rented Pontiac and a charge account at the grocery store to use while he is away. Jack's father asks a friend to look after Jack, but this friend turns out to be a pedophile and tries to make a move on sixteen-year-old Jack. When Jack calls his father and tells him that his supposed caretaker has tried to seduce him, Jack's father tells Jack to protect himself with the Air Force Survival Rifle he has stashed in his closet and shoot the man if he returns. That night, the man stands outside of Jack's apartment door and sobs while inside Jack clutches the rifle, fearful that he may have to use it.

Only days after returning from Las Vegas in time for Geoffrey's arrival home, Jack's father is arrested and committed to a sanitarium, where he remains for the rest of the summer. As a result, Geoffrey has to forfeit his initial plan of completing his novel to work and support the family financially. Meanwhile, Jack runs wild, but Geoffrey encourages him to read and write.

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Incorrect Information

by xx20, January 08, 2015

No where is Kenneth's religion even suggested, much less imposed on others. He is annoying in that he loves to argue and make people despise him.
Roy and Rosemary were never married; he was Rosemary's ex-boyfriend but stalks her against her will.


1 out of 3 people found this helpful


by Orcus74, May 05, 2015

Thanks for your help Sparknotes

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