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This Boy's Life

  • Study Guide
Characters

Rosemary Wolff

Characters Rosemary Wolff

As a mother, Rosemary is unconventional, wanting to travel and explore instead of bake cookies and make babies. It is clear that she loves her son very much, but her well-meaning decisions can prove destructive, such as her marrying Dwight for the sake of providing Jack with a stable home life. In her attempts to assume a conventional, family-oriented lifestyle, Rosemary betrays herself and suffers for it, even though it is never her intention to inflict harm on Jack or on herself.

Rosemary's temper is remarkably mild, much like Jack's. Even when Jack has caused terrible trouble or shamed himself, such as when he steals from the Welch's farm, Rosemary cannot bear the thought of striking or even verbally reprimanding him. Rosemary's restraint is the direct result of her own abusive childhood, as she is deeply scarred by the violence and cruelty she has suffered at the hands of her father. Although Rosemary makes a conscious effort not to treat her children like her father did, she is attracted to men who use violence to assert their authority and power. Rosemary is fiercely independent, but whenever she has garnered sufficient courage, strength, and money to leave one of bully, she moves on to yet another.

Like Jack, Rosemary never loses faith that her situation will improve, however tragic her circumstances. She remains confident that whatever hardship she is enduring will eventually pass.