This Boy’s Life


Tobias Wolff

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This Boy’s Life: Chapter 30 Summary & Analysis

Jack meets Chuck outside a movie theater, where Chuck has spent the afternoon at a double feature. Together, they drive around to various pawn shops and try to sell Dwight’s guns. At the third pawn shop they go to, the woman behind the counter suspects that Jack has stolen the guns, though he insists his late father left them to him. Nevertheless, she offers to take a look at the guns; Jack brings everything in from the car, and the woman inspects his wares. She says she will buy them for pawn for five dollars apiece. Jack tells her that she must know they’re worth a lot more than that, and she tells him to go somewhere else. Jack, though, knows better; he has already been kicked out of two shops. He agrees to give the woman the guns for pawn tickets, which he throws in the gutter as he exits her shop.
Jack and Chuck are up to their old tricks, and narrowly avoid getting into serious trouble while trying to pawn stolen goods. As Jack unloads Dwight’s guns for a pittance, he is retaliating against him in the only way he knows how; by cruelly rendering Dwight’s things worthless, just as Dwight rendered worthless Jack’s own rifle, his hard work on the chestnuts, and his years of subjugation and compliance.
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