The Rich Brother

This essay has a total of 504 words and 3 pages.

The Rich Brother

Tobias Wolff's "The Rich Brother" is a story of two brothers, Donald and Pete. These
brothers have very contrasting lifestyles; Pete is a successful businessman with a wife
and kids. Donald, on the other hand, is an outcast. He's unemployed and irresponsible. He
lives his life as a vagabond. Despite these facts, the successful brother, Pete, still
lacks the self-esteem he desperately craves. Therefore he tries to make his brother,
Donald, feel foolish with every chance he gets.

Pete talks to Donald in a very condescending and patronizing manner. For example, when
Donald spills a soda in Pete's car, Pete responds sarcastically, "Great, just great"
(293). He then later yells at Donald for not getting gas. He says to Donald, "…Why don't
you use your head? What if we run out?" (302). Shortly after the pop-spilling incident
takes place, Pete begins to pester Donald about explaining how he got kicked out of the
religious community. Donald says to Pete, "You have this compulsion to make me look
foolish" (295). Pete replies that Donald makes himself look foolish.

Pete believes his ethics and morals are superior to Donald's. Pete believes that a person
should be responsible and that success is based on wealth; Therefore, he is very frugal
with his money and believes it is irresponsible to just give it away. So when Donald gives
a hundred dollars to a stranger (Mick Webster), Pete sharply says "Why did you give it
[the money] to him? A hundred dollars. Gone. Just like that. I worked for that money,
Donald" (303).
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