The Vietnam War in Short Fiction Criticism: Tobias Wolff: Back In The World (1985) - Essay

David Montrose (review date 24 January 1986)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: Montrose, David. “Waiting for the Future.” Times Literary Supplement, no. 4321 (24 January 1986): 82.

[In the following mixed review, Montrose provides a stylistic overview of the stories in Tobias Wolff's Back in the World.]

The title of Tobias Wolff's second collection of stories comes from a passage in “Soldier's Joy”, in which his protagonist, Hooper, reminisces about the certainty found on combat duty in Vietnam:

We didn't know it then. We used to talk about how when we got back in the world we were going to do this and we were going to do that. Back in the world we were going to have it made. But ever since...

(The entire section is 730 words.)

James Hannah (essay date 1996)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: Hannah, James. “Part 1. The Short Fiction: ‘Soldier's Joy.’” In Tobias Wolff: A Study of the Short Fiction, pp. 66-71. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1996.

[In the following essay, Hannah discusses Tobias Wolff's representation of a veteran's reintegration into American society in “Soldier's Joy.”]

“Soldier's Joy” is Tobias Wolff's fourth treatment of soldiers and his second short story about the reintroduction of the Vietnam War veteran into American society. It also provides the title of the collection in the phrase “back in the world,” the soldier's shorthand for civilian life. The phrase resides at the core of this story. Hooper, a veteran...

(The entire section is 2430 words.)