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“The Night in Question” by Tobias Wolff at its core represents the difficulty of making choices. Whether they be simple decisions or complex ones that require a great deal of thought, some things are not easily decided. As a person who is painfully indecisive and emotionally charged all of the time, I can understand the difficulty.  The choices that we make in life more often than not end up defining who we are as individuals. We always want to be sure of the choices we make to ensure that we are limiting the amount of regrets we have at the end of our life. Clearly, that is impossible, and as humans we second-guess and over analyze a lot of things, especially when life comes to a crossroads. Usually, when I am asked a difficult question, a gut feeling tells me the answer, but more often than not I ignore that and bounce back and forth between the options even if I know the answer should be clear. I am an emotionally impulsive person, and it tends to bite me on the butt; my emotions drive my choices ninety-nine percent of the time, the tiny one percent legitimate rationale that in all honesty plays a small role. Is it good or bad that I and other people are driven by emotion to make choices? Sometimes I wonder how different my life would be if I allowed that tiny one percent to rule my life instead of my emotions. Would I be more intelligent, more successful, happier, or have a greater satisfaction with my life?

“The Night in Question” is filled with choices and result of the choices made. Throughout the story, there are many times when the characters hesitate to do or say something and wonder what would have happened if they had. “But she didn’t stop him.” (pg. 638) “Frances followed her mother’s example and said nothing.” (pg.638) We often regret the things we don’t do than the things that we actually do. At least we know what happens when we act, it can be torture to be constantly wondering. “What might have happened if her mother had come flying out of her chair and told him to stop, now and forever? Or if she had only looked at him, confirming his shame? But her eyes stayed closed.” (pg. 638) This quote in particular made me reflect on all the times I allowed the boys and the men in my life to have the upper hand and all the times I allowed that upper hand to backhand not only myself but other women. Why in the moment is it so difficult to speak up? “Her mother could not allow herself to see what she had no strength to oppose. Her heart was bad. Three years later she reached for a bottle of ammonia, said “Oh,” sat down on the floor and died.” (pg.638) Suicide is another choice that many people unfortunately choose to make. If any situation could lack every and no emotion it would be the choice to take ones life. As I previously stated, I am an emotionally impulsive person and there was a point in my life three years ago when I did contemplate suicide. At the time the choice seemed so easy due to my lack of emotions, but even without my lack of emotions there was a lack of rationale. It created a dark void in which I got very very lost. So maybe having emotions isn’t always the worst thing; emotions might not always be rational, but they can point you in the right direction.

Another big part of life is how life is constantly changing. Those changes are often a result of the choices made by ourselves and those around us. One of the things I have struggled most with in the past few months is changing myself for the better. ” I had to change. I had to change the way I thought about things. Maybe I sound a little different too.” (pg. 642) Changing myself and how I view things in life has been one of the most dificult things I have ever done. Having close friends and family telling me they do not like the change, even if it is for the better, has been hard. But I am making the choice to keep moving forward with this process, and it is the first balanced decison I have made in my life that I can remember.

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