Dwight Hansen

Yeah, you pull that hot shot stuff around me, and I'll break every bone in your goddamn body. You understand me? Yeah, you're in for a change, mister, a whole 'nother ball game.
~ Dwight threatening Toby

Dwight Hansen is the main antagonist in the memoir This Boy's Life. He is the abusive stepfather of young Tobias Wolff, and the abusive husband of Tobias' mother Caroline.

He is a fictionalized version of Wolff's real stepfather, who died in 1992.

In the 1993 film adaptation, he is portrayed by Robert De Niro, who also played Vito Corleone in The Godfather, Part II, Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver, Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull, David "Noodles" Aaronson in Once Upon a Time in America, Al Capone in The Untouchables, Louis Cyphre in Angel Heart,Jimmy Conway in Goodfellas, Max Cady in Cape Fear, Frankenstein's Monster in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Ace in Casino, Neil McCauley in Heat, Gil Renard in The Fan, Louis Gara in Jackie Brown, Fearless Leader in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, Don Lino in Shark Tale, David Callaway in Hide & Seek, and Senator John McLaughlin in Machete.


Dwight is brutish and cruel, a monster whose only motivation is to degrade and bully those who are weaker than him. The worst of Dwight's brutality is directed at Jack, who is rendered helpless by Dwight's unflinching adult authority.

Dwight mercilessly berates Jack for his every move and, at his worst, uses physical force to make his power known. Dwight derives satisfaction from exercising his power over other people, primarily Jack and Rosemary, and needs to belittle and victimize others to reassure himself that he is important. Dwight is also exceedingly deceptive and dishonest, either making various promises he cannot keep, or simply lying outright, relishing his self-serving underhandedness. This deception is best exemplified when Dwight steals Jack and Rosemary's hard-earned wages, spending the money on himself after he has assured them both that he is depositing it into their respective bank accounts.

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