Above all, the narrator's attitude to life seems to be shaped by his own health and well-being, which of course, heightens the contrast between himself and his younger brother, Doodle, who is defined by his inability to do all the things that his brother can and wants him to do. Perhaps what most clearly reveals the kind of attitude that the narrator, the elder brother of Doodle, has concerning life is in his hopes for a younger brother. Note what the narrator reveals to us:
I thought myself pretty smart at many things, like holding my breath, running, jumping, or climbing vines in Old Woman Swamp, and I wanted more than anything else someone to race to Horsehead Landing, someone to box with, and someone to perch with in the top fork of the great pine behind the barn, where across the fields and swamps you could see the sea. I wanted a brother.
Therefore the narrator defines himself as a typical young boy who delights in physical activity and enjoying life outdoors, playing in nature and getting up to the kind of mischief that boys of his age normally do. Of course, having a younger brother like Doodle, who is unable to do all the things that the narrator enjoys doing, seriously embarrasses the narrator, leading him to try to change his younger brother and to teach him how to do all the things that he wants Doodle to be able to share with him.