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Sample essay topic, essay writing: The Rich Brother - 632 words
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The Rich BrotherPete's and Donald's ValuesComparison and Contrast In Tobias Wolf's 1985 short story "The Rich Brother," we are introduced two brothers. According to Wolf, you cannot even tell that they are brothers because their physical differences, but as the story goes into more detail we can tell that they are different in every aspect. One of the major differences is that one is wealthy and the other is always in need of financial assistance. The older brother, Pete, is a successful real estate agent while his younger brother, Donald, works as a painter whenever he can. The two brothers are very different in their belief about what is valuable.
Pete is a man that has worked hard and values what he has acquired. His brother Donald, on the other hand, values sharing whatever he has. Even if giving everything he has leaves him with nothing. Pete's values gather around not believing in any kind of God or savior. He is not a religious man in that sense. He values that his money has given him; a sense of decency
His wealth gives him a comfortable feeling. He doesn't see the necessity to believe in religion as his brother has. His destiny is to have a nice family and to be as his parents were. Their parents "managed to be decent people without making fools of themselves, and Pete had the same ambition." (Tobias Wolf 391) Pete's wealth fills his needs. His possessions are valuable him, he buys a new car just because he liked and wanted it. His values don't really go much beyond what he owns. He has a nice home where he can see a piece of the ocean, a sailboat, and his own business.
His wealth is enough. Wolf writes, "Pete worked hard and made a lot of money, but not any more than the thought he deserved." (391) He values the prestige of what money can do for his life. It has allowed him to have friends that aren't jealous of his wealth. Wolf writes that Pete has "friends doing well enough in their own lives not to wish bad luck on him" (391).Donald's value system is much different. He has a passion for helping people and believes that everyone should have the same as others.
He feels that sharing what you have is honorable and the way it should be. When Webster, a man they give a ride to, says, "Everyone will prosper together." Donald agrees by saying, "That's great. That's the way it ought to be." (399) Not only does Donald believe that everyone should share, but he has a deep concern with the well-being of others. He is more concerned with the fate of his and everybody else's soul. Wolf states, "Donald couldn't content himself with worrying about his own soul.
He had to worry about everyone else's, and especially Pete's." (391) Donald has a deep feeling that his brother is danger because of the way he has put money and material things before believing in God. His need to be some sort of savior has caused him to put his own needs behind the needs of others. He doesn't want much for himself. When Pete holds five twenties out the window "Donald stepped back as if horrified," and says, "I don't need that much'" (393). He gives everything that he has; he even gives away the money that Pete gave to him. When he was on the farm, and it was his turn to go to the store he gave away all the groceries to a family that he thought was more in need than himself.
Pete and Donald are very different in their beliefs. Donald is searching for the spiritual side of life, and values redemption above all else, while Pete is more concerned with wealth and prestige.
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