Literature Study GuidesBullet In The Brain

Bullet in the Brain | Study Guide

Tobias Wolff

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Course Hero. "Bullet in the Brain Study Guide." Course Hero. 13 Mar. 2020. Web. 26 Sep. 2023. <>.

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In text

(Course Hero, 2020)



Course Hero. "Bullet in the Brain Study Guide." March 13, 2020. Accessed September 26, 2023.


Course Hero, "Bullet in the Brain Study Guide," March 13, 2020, accessed September 26, 2023,



Tobias Wolff

Year Published



Short Story



Perspective and Narrator

"Bullet in the Brain" is written in third-person limited narration in which the narrator explains the thoughts and motivations of only the main character, Anders. When Anders is struck with a bullet, injuring his brain, the narrator describes memories of events throughout Anders's life as though the narrator always has been with the main character.


"Bullet in the Brain" is written in the past tense with the exception of one paragraph near the end of the story that switches to present tense. As Anders is dying, a memory replays in his brain as though he is actually reliving it, and Wolff describes the scene using the present tense.

About the Title

The title refers to the cause of the main character's death. The final paragraphs describe Anders's death and his last memory of a moment from his childhood as the bullet smashes into his skull and passes through his brain.


This study guide for Tobias Wolff's Bullet in the Brain offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.


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