Powder by Tobias Wolff Essay
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Powder Powder, a short story written by Tobias Wolff, is about a boy and his father on a Christmas Eve outing. As the story unfolds, it appears to run deeper than only a story about a boy and his father on a simple adventure in the snow. It is an account of a boy and his father’s relationship, or maybe the lack of one. Powder is narrated by a grown-up version of the boy. In this tale, the roles of the boy and his father emerge completely opposite than what they are supposed to be but may prove to be entirely different from the reader’s first observation. The father’s character begins to develop with the boy’s memory of an outing to a nightclub to see the jazz legend, Thelonius Monk. This is the first sign of the father’s…show more content…
He likes to plan far in advance even to the point of bothering his teachers for future homework assignments and numbering his clothes on hangers so the schedule of wear is equal. It is very common for children to exhibit some controlling behavior like the boy in the story because it gives the child a small piece of control in their own life. ("Brain Psychics") This is due to the lack of control on their parents’ relationship and the inability to control separation and divorce. This is quite believable and allows the reader to relate to this situation, especially if a divorced single parent or one who was a child that grew up in a divorced home. The first feeling of this story is that the boy and his father struggle with their relationship, but as it unfolds, the reader sees how they do care for each other. It also becomes easier to spot the difficulties of communicating within a broken family. The father does a fine job to of turning the boy’s scheduling obsessions into a positive for the boy by noting it as one of his strong points. This story also paints the picture of a father who would not give up on regaining his time with his son. It shows the father desperately trying to rectify the mistrust issues he created because he stated to the boy when they were sitting in the diner after the highway patrol redirected them away from the snow-covered route home that she would never forgive him if he did not get the boy home for
This fictional passage defines the meaning of “living in the moment”. Wolff uses a young, controlling, conservative boy to contrast with his bold and seemingly fearless father. The son, “was a boy who kept his clothes on numbered hangers to insure proper rotation. [He] bothered [his] teachers for homework assignments far ahead of their due dates so [he] could draw up schedules” (Wolff). His father on the other hand snuck his son into a bar to see Thelonius Monk, without his wife’s permission. The narrator speaks of one specific event with much detail to show how the event has completely changed his mindset. His parents were going to split up, no matter how hard his father tried to keep him safe. This affected the son, which probably showed through his obsessive and controlling habits. However, he looked up to his father as a model of enjoying life to the fullest. His father was rebellious in many ways, such as taking a minor to a bar, or entering a forbidden zone blocked by officers during a snow storm. However, his father was a good model of protection towards his son. Even though he entered a police-blocked path, he warned his son not to follow his actions. He only did that to keep the promise he made to his mother. This gave the narrator a new outlook on life. He finally relaxed and let go of his worries, by trusting his father while he was driving. He ends with a quote to show his new perspective, “Except maybe to say this: if you haven’t driven on fresh powder, you haven’t driven” (Wolff).