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Which Three Stories by Tobias Wolff Have Most Impressed You and Why?

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Introduction

Which Three Stories by Tobias Wolff Have Most Impressed You and Why? The stories I was most impressed with were: the chain, Smokers and Hunters in the Snow. In these three stories, I think that one of Wolff's most impressive skills is his characterisation. He has the talented ability of forming a full image of the character, both of their physical appearance and their personality, in just a matter of a few sentences. In Smokers, my favourite characterisation is of Eugene, near the beginning: "As our train was leaving New York, Eugene, moving from another coach into the one where I sat, managed to get himself jammed in the door between his two enormous suitcases. I watched as he struggled to free himself, fascinated by the hat he wore, a green alpine hat with feathers stuck in the brim. ...read more.

Middle

I learned through the story, that Tub was the 'reject' of the group and was poked fun of because he was portrayed as a fat, thick, stereotypical American. Tobias Wolff's power to shock also impressed me a lot. The opening of The Chain is extremely dramatic and tense, especially when the dog bites Anna: "He screamed one last time as the dog made his lunge, and at that moment Anna flinched away and the dog caught her shoulder instead of her face. Gold was barely halfway down the hill, arms pumping, feet sliding in his boots. He seemed to be running in place, held at a fixed, unbridgeable distance as the dog dragged Anna backwards off the sled, shaking her like a doll." The phrase "running in place" emphasises Gold's helplessness, and how he had to watch his daughter suffer attack from the savage, wild dog. ...read more.

Conclusion

He was conscious of the dog's speed and of his own dreamy progress, the weight of his gumboots, the clinging trap of crust beneath the new snow." I like how Wolff describes the wind as 'needling gusts', as this makes the wind seem so cold that it can pierce Anna's skin. I am also very fond of the way the pace slows ever more in the build-up to the dog's attack. Exceptional descriptive writing is also present in Hunters in the Snow: "He was jackknifed over the tailgate, his head hanging over the bumper." The word 'jackknifed' means that he is bent over at the waist, like a folded jackknife. Out of these three books, my favorite one is The Chain, because it excels at every point I have written about in this essay, and has the best plot. ...read more.

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