Two boys and a girl by Tobias Wolff

Essay by lynnieHigh School, 10th gradeA+, January 2005

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I Saw Her First

In Tobias Wolff's "Two Boy's and a Girl," the main character, Gilbert, envies his friend Rafe, wanting what Rafe has instead of accepting and trying to enjoy his own life. His sarcastic way of coping with this self-made problem develops as he looks after Rafe's girlfriend and convertible while he is away. Although not accepted by Gilbert, the reader learns that even Rafe, whose life seems to be perfect, has problems of his own. For example, Rafe possesses the material things and the girlfriend Gilbert hopes for, but not family love. Not understanding of Rafe's problems and too concerned with his own self, Gilbert is depressed about everything he considers wrong in his life; he is overreacting. Just like him, nobody has everything, but in an effort to solve his loneliness, he wants a girlfriend like Rafe's. Gilbert's resolution to betray his friend by stealing Rafe's girlfriend proves his ruthless self-absorption; he puts his own self-entitled needs before the feelings of his best friend.

Despite his determination he does not get the girl and thus is faced with the option of accepting the way things are.

Gilbert bitterly compares what he has to what Rafe's life is like seeing this as unfair and wrong that Rafe has more. Rafe has money, looks, brains, and a cute girlfriend that Gilbert does not have, but wants. He is jealous of his good friend getting more and more bitter the more he notices what luxuries Rafe has. For example, Gilbert and Rafe see the same girl at a party, but: "Gilbert saw her first" (102). Even if this makes Gilbert entitled to this girl as he had felt, Rafe makes a move on Mary Ann first. After this first feeling of jealousy towards his best friend again Gilbert...