27 February 2011

Post 337: Dan Walker (guest blogger)

Lord of the Flies by William Golding.  ISBN: 9780140283334.

This post is going to be equally about the novel and an article that I read recently.  If you read it, make sure you click the two follow-up articles the guy wrote.

What got me thinking about this article in conjunction with the novel was the way the boys treated Piggy.  He's the fat, awkward kid, a serious mama's boy, always speaking his mind to try and get things to work the way he thinks is proper, and so he gets picked on and shunned a lot.  There's a scene where a very tense moment is diffused by someone poking fun at Piggy; it comes off as business as usual, and everyone relaxes.

So, yeah, I was bullied in school, and I won't even begin to guess why.  I remember being laughed at and called names, spit on, and occasionally beaten up on my way to or from school.  That last one was the worst; it didn't happen often, but it did cause me to alter my route to school.  I do hold it accountable for my cynicism, however.

The silly thing is, I never told anyone about anything that happened.  I actually went to great lengths to keep people from finding out what had happened to me.  I can't even begin to understand why I didn't tell anyone.  The best I can guess is that maybe I thought there was something wrong with me and that's why I got picked on all the time.  It's that internalization that keeps bullying something tolerated.  Like the guy in Single Dad Laughing says, the bullied have voices and need to use them.

Still, the treatment I received could have been a lot worse in some ways.  I knew a girl in middle school who was picked on far more publicly, and far more often than I was.  I actually tended to avoid her because she was lower on the social ladder than even me.  Also, the physical abuse I underwent never really did any lasting damage, although I did experience something Single Dad Laughing described, where hot girls would ask me out and then laugh in my face.  That left scars, that have only just recently begun to heal.

It also could have been much worse, because I at least had people to turn to, and I think that's really the most important thing for someone who's being tormented in school.  In high school, I made friends with a bunch of other social outcasts, and we banded together, and we turned our collective ostracized status into something that allowed us to feel better about ourselves.  We didn't need anyone but ourselves, we were better than the 'normals' because we made an effort to be different.  That kind of mindset has sort of warped me for later life, but at the time, it was a most necessary survival mechanism.  My friends gave me a way to be myself, and they gave me something to live for.

I think anything else I could say on the subject is said much better by the article, so I'll just say, if you were holding off on reading it until you finished reading this post, go back and read it now.  It's worth it.

Dan Walker (pseudonym) is a writer from Northeast Ohio, who would be teaching ESL if he wasn't unemployed temporarily working at a bookstore. He received a BA in Creative Writing from Wright State University in 2004 and a Masters in Teaching English as a Second Language from Kent State University in 2009. He will make some lucky librarian a wonderful husband someday. 

*This post was originally written October 16, 2010 to give the regular blogger a break.


  1. What I remember most from Lord of the Flies is Piggy. He is a character that resonates with many readers I think.

    I am always shocked by the torment so many received in school. That sort of abuse just didn't happen at my schools. I don't know if it was the small size of the schools or what but bullying was very rare. People got made fun of, almost everyone, but no one was ever singled out and the jocks and preps were just as likely to be the butt of jokes as the stoners.

  2. At least it's good to know not every kid is being treated like dirt by their peers. Now if we could only make it so that none were.

    Thanks for reading the post!

  3. Trisha,
    I imagine the small class size did help alleviate some of the bullying. I noticed that the amount and severity of bullying decreased dramatically when I went from a regular public school with 30 kids in a class to a magnet program with no more than 18 per class. It's hard to believe that only 12 students turned the classes from controllable to out of control. There was still a lot of teasing, but most of it was garden variety and everyone got their fair share.


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