This Boy’s Life

This Boy’s Life Chapter 28 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
After Rosemary leaves for Seattle, Pearl becomes despondent. Jack often sits with her at school lunch, and the two maintain a friendship. One day, Pearl mentions that she and Dwight are driving down to Seattle—supposedly to spend time with Norma, but really so that Dwight can try and win Rosemary back. Jack doesn’t like hearing this—he and Chuck have their own plans to go down to Seattle the next day so that Jack can meet with Mr. Howard and get fitted for some clothes.
Though Jack and Rosemary have both escaped Dwight’s house, Jack begins to realize that fully escaping his influence and getting out from under his thumb will be harder than they thought—his abuses will continue, it seems, with no end in sight.
Themes
Abuse Theme Icon
Later that afternoon, Jack gets an idea. That night, after midnight, Chuck and Jack sneak out and drive to Chinook. They get to Dwight’s house, and after seeing that his car is not in the driveway, Jack gets out of Chuck’s car and goes inside—the door is unlocked, as always. Jack puts on gloves and wanders through the empty house, moving through the rooms and reminiscing. At last he goes into Dwight’s room, where he steals some cigarettes—along with the official Scout forms Dwight never sent out. Jack is planning on promoting himself to Eagle Scout. Jack, done reminiscing, then takes all of Dwight’s hunting guns out of the house and loads them into Chuck’s car, and then the two drive away.
Jack at last thinks of a way to get back at Dwight, and to take physically from the man, symbolizing all the “taking” Dwight did from Jack emotionally and psychologically over the years. The guns are a tool of potential abuse, and also the way Dwight tries to define himself—as a successful hunter when really he’s totally incapable. By taking this part of Dwight’s identity away from him, Jack executes a successful and punishing revenge.
Themes
Identity and Performance Theme Icon
Abuse Theme Icon
The boys make it home without being stopped, and the next morning, they join the Bolgers for breakfast to find everyone in good moods. Mr. Bolger tells the boys that their trip to Seattle is a new chance to prove themselves—they mustn’t drink, pick up hitchhikers, or take any side trips. Though Mr. Bolger tires to be stern with his order, Jack can tell that he is happy to send the boys off to accomplish some grown-up business.
Jack and Chuck returned briefly to their no-good old ways, but this time have miraculously escaped being caught. They are given one final chance to redeem themselves by Mr. Bolger, but whether they will rise to the occasion remains to be seen.
Themes
Identity and Performance Theme Icon