Comparison of Narcissist Characters

Many authors have made use of narcissism as a theme of their literary stylistics. The phenomenon of narcissism refers to that state of an individual in which he or she may become the most egoistic, self-obsessed and selfish persons. There are many reasons for which authors have been using the phenomenon of narcissism in their literary undertaking. It may be due to this reason of creating moralistic concerns in the story.

The book The Night in Question by Tobias Wolff includes different stories that have made use of the phenomenon of narcissism. The short stories The Chain and The Life of the Body are two short stories from the book that have depicted characters that destructed their lives themselves for being narcissist. This paper compares the two characters from the two notes short stories to understand their psyche that resulted in self-destruction.

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Brian Gold is a narcissist character of the short story The Chain while Wiley is another egoistically charged character from the story The Life of the Body. Brain has been depicted as a character that lived with self-obsession. He wanted to prove his heroic abilities to the world because he believed that in this way, he will be able to get the respect that a man should be earning. It is for this reason that he kept on being anguish with his wife.

Also, people around him greatly pushed him to think about being a brave Jew. It shall be noted that Brain was going through the complex of living a simple life as he had no enemies. In order to prove that he was a powerful person, he expressed his anger towards everyone (Wolff).

In a similar manner, Wiley the character becomes a reason behind his own destruction as he believed that everybody will stand up for him if he remains obnoxious. It shall be noted that Wiley also had a disagreement with the truth that being charming is not equals to being obnoxious.

Both the men have a disagreement with their own weaknesses. Wiley and Brian have shown a much disregarded concern towards the women they lived. It is a characteristic of a narcissist that he pressurizes the weaker ones. In the case of Wiley and Brian Gold, it can be said that both of them have been passive regarding relationships with their respective female characters (Wolff).

Wiley and Brian Gold also showed some of the instances in their respective grounds of story depicting that they had no respect to the point of view of people around them. Becoming highly self-centeredness took both of them to their self-destruction. This is clear from the instances of The Chain when Brain Gold shows off that the dog who tried eating his daughter will be killed by him.

However, the reality was different that it was Brian’s own fault that he did not put his daughter to a safety at the very first place. A similar example can be drawn from the story The Life of the Body when Wiley tells lies to the people about himself to show off that he is rational among those who have a very irrational view about Wiley (Wolff).

From the above noted instances and observations about the character projections in stories The Chain and The Life of the Body, it becomes clear that both narcissist individuals will always hide their weaknesses by proving their abilities with lies and made-up stories. By doing so, both the characters Wiley and Brian Gold ended up in emptiness and self-destruction.

Work Cited

Wolff, T. The night in question: stories. New York: Vintage Books, 1997.


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