This Boy’s Life

Mr. Wolff Character Analysis

Jack’s biological father, an aeronautical engineer who lives in Connecticut with his new wife. Jack’s father seems to make a lot of promises he can’t keep—most notably, towards the end of the text, he offers to spend the summer in La Jolla with his sons, but suffers a breakdown just a few days into the vacation and is forced to go to sanatorium.

Mr. Wolff Quotes in This Boy’s Life

The This Boy’s Life quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Wolff or refer to Mr. Wolff. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Storytelling and Escapism Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Grove Press edition of This Boy’s Life published in 1989.
Chapter 13 Quotes

I also missed my father. My mother never complained to me about him, but sometimes Dwight would make sarcastic comments about Daddy Warbucks and lord High-and-Mighty. He meant to impugn my father for being rich and living far away and having nothing to do with me, but all these qualities, even the last, perhaps especially the last, made my father fascinating. He had the advantage always enjoyed by the inconstant parent, of not being there to be found imperfect. I could see him as I wanted to see him. I could give him sterling qualities and imagine good reasons, even romantic reasons, why he had taken no interest, why he had never written to me, why he seemed to have forgotten I existed. I made excuses for him long after I should have known better.

Related Characters: Jack / Tobias (speaker), Dwight, Mr. Wolff
Page Number: 121
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other This Boy’s Life quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Get the entire This Boy’s Life LitChart as a printable PDF.
This boy s life.pdf.medium

Mr. Wolff Character Timeline in This Boy’s Life

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Wolff appears in This Boy’s Life. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Abuse Theme Icon
...“long affair with a violent man” in the five years since her marriage to Toby’s father dissolved.  (full context)
Chapter 2
Storytelling and Escapism Theme Icon
Identity and Performance Theme Icon
When Jack’s father hears of his plans to change his name, he calls from Connecticut to try and... (full context)
Chapter 13
Storytelling and Escapism Theme Icon
Identity and Performance Theme Icon
...room they share is painfully empty. In addition to missing Skipper, Jack also misses his father—though Dwight often makes snide comments about the man, Jack will not let anyone tarnish the... (full context)
Chapter 22
Storytelling and Escapism Theme Icon
Identity and Performance Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
...to Europe after graduation and work on a novel. Geoffrey also updates Jack on their father, who has separated from his wife and moved to California. Geoffrey wants to see Jack,... (full context)
Storytelling and Escapism Theme Icon
Identity and Performance Theme Icon
Abuse Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
...school, Choate, and a handful of other prestigious boarding schools. Geoffrey promises to call their father and discuss it with him—he assures Jack that they’ll get him out of Chinook “one... (full context)
Storytelling and Escapism Theme Icon
Abuse Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
One night, Jack’s father, Mr. Wolff, calls the house. He assures Jack that he’ll get into whatever school he... (full context)
Chapter 31
Abuse Theme Icon
The day after Jack arrives in California to spend the summer with his father and Geoffrey, his father takes off for Las Vegas with his girlfriend and leaves Jack... (full context)
Storytelling and Escapism Theme Icon
Identity and Performance Theme Icon
Jack’s father comes back, and then Geoffrey arrives. After picking Geoffrey up from the bus, he drops... (full context)