Friday, January 27, 2012

Day Twenty-Seven: "A Poetics for Bullies" by Stanley Elkin


What a wonderful story rich in details with a clear voice, the voice of a kid who prides himself in being a bully and who calls himself "Push." The best part of this story though is how the reader senses his vulnerabilities every time he engages in the bullying, particularly in the way he interacts with his buddy Eugene. Eugene is as close to a friend as Push allows but even then, he's Push's punching bag more than anything else.

This could have easily wound up as a story about a mean kid. Instead, the author shows us in a subtle way that "mean" is just a word and it signifies nothing without a consideration of the personality traits that exist on a "mean" person's edges. For Push, there is insecurity, of course there is. But there's also some compassion, just beneath the surface and there's a breaking point and we keep reading because we desperately want to see it.


No comments: