Analysis Of 'Bullet In The Brain' By Tobias Wolff

Analysis Of 'Bullet In The Brain' By Tobias Wolff

What we can learn from Anders and his daring antics at a local bank.
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Anders is a unique character that Tobias Wolff had thought would change the way we see life in the twentieth century. The struggles of growing up, the change in attitude, and living in a world of imperfect human beings are all apparent in Anders. Anders is quite sarcastic, funny, and at one point, very nostalgic of his childhood; An exaggerated character, book critic, and image of the twentieth century.

Anders’s sarcasm is the most apparent of his traits in "Bullet in the Brain." From the moment Anders walks into the bank to his untimely death, Anders is harshly criticizing everything that is going on in the bank like a book. He first attacks a bank teller that closed his post, calling the action “Tragic." Then, as a robbery is occurring, Anders’s sarcasm comes to life. He treats it like a show, telling a women “Oh, Bravo” and felt that it was a “Great Script.” He eventually gets into an altercation with one of the robbers. Anders takes the robbers comment of “Bright Boy” as another criticising point and almost laughs at the fact that the quote came “Right out of ‘The Killers’.” The finishing touch to the sarcastic sandwich made by Anders was his reaction to the robber saying “Capiche”, a hardy laugh. It was surprising how he reacted the way he did. It was also surprising that he meant it. However, it is important that Anders reacted this way, as it leads into his nostalgic childhood.

Anders’s nostalgia of his past is probably the most important aspect of ‘Bullet in the Brain’. Anders is dead, however, we get a look into his mind and what he “Remembered”. We learned that most of what Anders remembers is that of childhood, and not of adulthood. He didn’t remember “Sherry”, his love, or his wife He didn’t remember “Professor Josephs” and his teachings on “Athenian prisoners”. He surprisingly did not remember his daughter either, a “sullen professor of economics at Dartmouth”. What he did remember was a childhood baseball game, in the heat of summer, and overhearing his friend Coyle's cousin saying that shortstop is “the best position they is." What intrigues Anders in this statement is the Coyle's cousin’s vernacular of ‘they is.' He is somehow entranced by the two words. It is an art he has never been familiar with. A strange new way of speaking, but an acceptable one to that of children. That sort of acceptance in childhood, playground fun, brotherhood, the ‘they is’ in life, is what Anders has lost as he grew up. Life became dull to him. The “hall of commerce”, robbery, and his adulthood was just another book to criticize. To Anders, nothing in the world could beat his childhood days.

Anders has changed throughout the entire short story as the robbery ensues and the bullet is shot into Anders’s brain. Anders in the beginning simply couldn’t care enough to realize the seriousness of the robbery of a bank. Anders being shot in the head had brought him back to what really mattered to him, and that was his childhood. As the bullet is traveling through his brain at “900 feet per second”, all he can remember was a summer moment during his childhood baseball days. Anders at the moment realizes that although he is well into his adulthood, he can somehow “still make time”. Anders can still savor the happiness and elation of his childhood, and bring back the ‘they is’ in his life.

Anders has become an amazing character and image of adulthood that Tobias Wolff has carefully crafted. Anders variations of sarcasm, nostalgia, and comedy have turned him from book critic to everyday adult. The irony of murder being the only way for Anders to understand life is what makes this story so unique. ‘The Bullet in the Brain’ will always be a classic with a character like Anders.

Cover Image Credit: trishandchips1 on Instagram

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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.
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When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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10 Shows To Watch If You're Sick Of 'The Office'

You can only watch it so many times...

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"The Office" is a great show, and is super easy to binge watch over and over again! But if you're like me and you're looking for something new to binge, why not give some of these a try? These comedies (or unintentional comedies) are a great way to branch out and watch something new.

1. "New Girl"

A show about a group of friends living in an apartment in a big city? Sound familiar? But seriously, this show is original and fresh, and Nick Miller is an icon.

2. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Ya'll have been sleeping on this show. It's a musical comedy about a girl that follows her ex boyfriend across the country. I thought it sounded horrible so I put it off for WAY too long, but then I realized how incredible the cast, music, writing, and just EVERYTHING. It really brings important issues to light, and I can't say too much without spoiling it. Rachel Bloom (the creator of the show) is a woman ahead of her time.

3. "Jane the Virgin"

I know... another CW show. But both are so incredible! Jane The Virgin is a tongue-in-cheek comedy and parody of telenovelas. It has so many twists and turns, but somehow you find yourself laughing with the family.

4. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in popular news lately since its cancellation by Fox and sequential pickup by NBC. It's an amazing show about cops in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. Created by the amazing Michael Schur, it's a safe bet that if you loved "The Office" you'll also love his series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine".

5. "The Good Place"

Another series created by the talented Micael Schur, it's safe to say you've probably already heard about this fantasy-comedy series. With a wonderful cast and writing that will keep you on your toes, the show is another safe bet.

6. "Fresh Off The Boat"

Seriously, I don't know why more people don't watch this show. "Fresh Off The Boat" focuses on an Asian family living in Orlando in the mid 90s. Randall Parks plays a character who is the polar opposite of his character in "The Interview" (Yeah, remember that horrifying movie?) and Constance Wu is wonderful as always.

7. "Full House"

Why not go back to the basics? If you're looking for a nostalgic comedy, go back all the way to the early days of Full House. If you're a '98-'00 baby like me, you probably grew up watching the Tanner family on Nick at Night. The entire series is available on Hulu, so if all else fails just watch Uncle Jesse and Rebecca fall in love again or Michelle fall off a horse and somehow lose her memory.

8. "Secret Life of the American Teenager"

Okay, this show is not a comedy, but I have never laughed so hard in my life. It's off Netflix but it's still on Hulu, so you can watch this masterpiece there. Watch the terrible acting and nonsense plot twists drive this show into the ground. Somehow everyone in this school dates each other? And also has a baby? You just have to watch. It might be my favorite show of all time.

9. "Scrubs"

Another old show that is worth watching. If you ignore the last season, Scrubs is a worthwhile medical comedy about doctors in both their personal and medical life. JD and Turk's relationship is one to be jealous of, and one hilarious to watch. Emotional at times, this medical drama is superior to any medical drama that's out now.

10. "Superstore"

I was resistant to watch this one at first, because it looked cheesy. But once I started watching I loved it! The show is a workplace comedy, one you're sure to love if you can relate to working in retail. If you liked the Office, you'll like Superstore!

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