Sunday, April 25, 2010

"The Rich Brother" vs. Cain and Abel

This writing assignment compares the two brothers in "The Rich Brother" to Cain and Abel in the Bible. At first I had troubles focusing on a single, manageable claim because I could draw several connections between the pairs of siblings. I finally settled on the idea of jealousy to focus on for this short assignment and I think that I stay true to that issue. I have decided to include this piece for my portfolio because I want to include more evidence to further analyze and develop the claim.

The sibling rivalry in Tobias Wolff’s “The Rich Brother” relates to the similar conflict of Cain and Abel due to jealousy of parental attention. In the Bible, Cain was jealous of his brother because their Father God had favored Abel and not him according to their offerings. “But on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.” Notice how Cain became angry because his brother was highly favored above him. Wolff uses a comparable jealousy and anger that Pete held toward his brother: “Mom was in a state every time you burped” (91). The slight sarcasm Pete uses indicates his bitterness for the extra attention his brother received from their mother. The sibling rivalry in “The Rich Brother” dates back to Cain and Abel in Biblical times that accumulated from a jealous grudge for parents’ attention.

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