This Boy’s Life

This Boy’s Life Chapter 10 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Dwight drives Jack up from Seattle to Chinook in a “sullen reverie,” barely speaking to Jack the whole three hours. Just outside of Concrete, Dwight hits a beaver crossing the road. He swears he swerved to avoid it, but Jack believes Dwight actually tried to hit the beaver. Dwight gets out of the car and urges Jack to do the same; they inspect the carcass, and Dwight decides that the pelt could be worth a lot of money. He tells Jack to pick the carcass up and put it in the trunk; when Jack refuses, Dwight taunts Jack for being weak and afraid of meat, and he loads it into the truck himself.
As soon as Jack and Dwight are alone together for the first time, Dwight’s true personality—malevolent, crude, and greedy—emerges in full force. He attempts to shame Jack for not wanting to handle the bloody beaver carcass, demonstrating his utter disregard for Jack’s feelings, as well as his desire to remake Jack entirely and bend him to his will.
Themes
Identity and Performance Theme Icon
Abuse Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
At the last village before Chinook, Dwight stops off at a tavern. He brings a burger and fries out to the car for Jack and tells him to sit tight for a while. Jack waits for hours in the cold while Dwight drinks inside the tavern, afraid even to play the radio for fear of drawing Dwight’s ire. He wants everything to work out with Dwight so that he can be part of a real family.
Dwight’s behavior becomes increasingly worrisome, but Jack is too petrified to do anything at all—just as he allowed himself to be talked into the arrangement in the first place, he now allows himself to continue believing that everything will be okay if he just goes with the flow.
Themes
Storytelling and Escapism Theme Icon
Identity and Performance Theme Icon
Abuse Theme Icon
After Dwight emerges from the tavern, he drives home drunk the rest of the way. As he takes Jack through a sickening series of curves up the side of a mountain, Jack complains about feeling sick to his stomach. Dwight teases Jack, again, for being weak, and calls him a “hotshot.” He asks Jack to see Jack’s imitation of him, which he has heard about from Marian. Jack refuses to perform it, even as Dwight taunts and berates him more and more violently. He warns Jack that if Jack pulls any “hotshot stuff,” Dwight will “snatch [him] bald-headed.” Dwight warns Jack that he is in for a “whole nother ball game” as Jack clings to his seat, bracing himself for the next curve.
As if Jack didn’t already realize that he was in for a “whole nother ball game,” Dwight clues him into this fact now. The drunken, twisting drive home mirrors the confusion and isolation Jack feels as he realizes what his new life in Chinook is really going to be like.
Themes
Identity and Performance Theme Icon
Abuse Theme Icon