Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Lost Boy by Dave Pelzer

The Lost Boy, by Dave Pelzer, is a sequel of the book A Child Called “It”. Both books tell what Dave Pelzer’s life was like during his younger years. A Child Called “It” is about a young boy who has a mother that physically and mentally abuses him. The boy’s name is David; however, his mother refuses to call him by his name, so she calls him “It”. Throughout the book Dave Pelzer tells all the troubles he has to go through from puking to show his mother he does not take food from school, to sitting in a bathroom for hours that has chemicals all over it. His mother torments him, and blames everything that goes wrong on David. His father sticks up for him most of the times until he gets sick of it and starts conforming to David’s mothers beliefs. A Child Called “It” leads into The Lost Boy.

The Lost Boy starts off when David is nine years old and he runs away from his home in California. He lands himself in a bar where he receives a quarter to buy some food. After a bit, someone at the bar calls the police to pick up the lost boy and take him back to his home. David is still physically abused by his mother and attacked by students at school. David always wonders if his mother loves him because she has never said it to him, yet she treats his other brothers with love and compassion. There is no indication why David is singled out from his other brothers. David states, “I know I’m wrong. And, as always, it’s all my fault”(Pelzer 31). His mother has convinced him that it is all his fault for everything that occurs within their family. In 1973, the police start to take action in the issue and he is taken to a hospital. David states, “My legs and arms were a combination of yellow and brown. Dark circles of purple bruises faded on top of fresh rings of blue bruises-where I was either grabbed, punched or slammed down on the kitchen floor”(Pelzer 39). David never realizes just how badly is treated until someone lays his life out right before his face. David never discovers the real reason for his mothers abusive ways, but he always comes back to her alcoholism. At this point he recognizes that his life is in complete danger if he stays with his mother and is finally given a court trial and sent to foster care. He journeys through many different families and difficult times and has trouble fitting in with the students in his new schools because he is a foster child. He lands in his last home which is owned by a lady named Alice. He is finally able to experience a good life and Alice shows him what true love is all about.

Throughout the book the theme of self discovery shows itself. It begins when he takes the abuse from his mother. He wants to please his mother and father; however, he also wants to become a “good” boy. The whole time he is with his family he searches for a way to make things right, what to change about himself to make his family love him. In the end, when he finds a family that truly loves him he discovers his true identity has always been there and that he does not have to change. Another theme that relates to self discovery is that if you keep trying in life, you will succeed. David keeps searching for a life fit for him and he finally finds it.

Discussion Questions:

1) David goes back and forth trying to decide whether or not he should leave his brothers with his mother. He thinks about what will happen to his brothers when he leaves and whether his mother will turn to abusing them. Later in the book David finds out that his brothers are getting abused since David is gone. Would you sacrifice yourself to the abuse of someone if it would keep your loved ones from being abused?

2)Do you think someone who went through hardships like David did would have a more positive or negative outlook on life after they get through the hard times?

3)David believes that his mothers drinking habits are the reason’s why she abuses him,; however, he does not know this for sure. Do you think people should be allowed to use alcohol as an excuse for their misbehaviors? Do you think people should still have to control themselves if they choose to consume alcohol?


Natalie S Mods 5-6 said...

1)In David's case, I probably would sacrifice myself to abuse for the ones I care about. If I knew how bad the abuse is, I could never leave someone else to suffer in it. Especially those that I care about and want to lead happy lives. If posible, I would remove everyone from, the abusive environment thouugh. No one deserves to deal with that.
2)I think someone like David might have a hard time being an optimisitic person after such a hard experience. Your character and who you are, are formed by your environment, cultural beliefs, family and friends. Being bullied in school and having his mother abuse and neglect him at such a young age is traumatizing. If David were to have a positive outlook on life again, he could not do it alone. David needs a family to care about, friends to form healthy relationships with, and maybe even counseling to get through his past. David has a long way to go before he can look at the glass from the half full view.
3)Alcohol is not an excuse for misbehavior in any situation. Yes, it impairs judegement and alters your mindset but unless you have been drugged, you have put yourself in that vulnerable state of mind. People get arrested if they drive drunk and people would get arrested if they murder someone drunk. If the law holds you accountable while drunk everyone else should too. People need to control themselves if they choose to drink alcohol. We live in a society of structure and fun is allowed to a certain point. If you choose to drink, you have to handle the consequences of iit. You must also be able to behave will intoxicated. There is no excuse for abuse, especially being intoxicated.

Kara K. 5/6 said...

I agree completely with you Natalie. I feel that if you care about someone, then you would choose to save them from abuse so you can see them happy. Also, it would be very hard for someone to be optimistic after a hard time in their life and most people would probably lead a life of disapointment however, like you said people may be able to bring their life around if they have someone to help them through it. Peoples environment shapes their life for them and if they are in a bad environment, then they will gaint the atributes that the people in their environment have. Since David does end up with a great foster family, they are able to help him turn his life around. Lastly, i agree perfectly with what you said about alcohol. I feel that many people these days blame a lot of their actions on alcohol, that is why i asked this question. People cheat and then say that it was because they were partying and drinking. I feel that people still have responsibility over their own actions. Even though alcohol impairs you, you are still able to think for yourself. It is their choice to drink, and if they choose to drink a ton, they should know their limits before they get to out of hand.

Hannah L 13-14 said...

In response to your second question I believe that it depends on the person. For strong individuals they may get through the hardships and still be able to remain positive about the way things will go. For someone who is not as strong the hardships they go through will have a more negative affect on their outlook on life and will make it more negative. The way their outlook is affected also depends on how much they block out what happens to them or how much they attempt to protect themselves from it. For an individual who goes through these hardships it truly depends on what their original outlook on life was like. Negative outlooks would be more likely to become more negative while more positive outlooks could go either way but would most likely remain positive. The type of person going through the hardships is what makes the outlook.

Matt P. 13-14 said...

In response to question one, I believe that I would try to help my siblings if they were being abused, but this does not necessarily mean that I would sacrifice myself, because this could do more harm than good. I would try to get outside help for my family, while in the mean time attempting to help my other siblings if they were struggling. I would confront the abuser, and try to stop the abuse from spreading to my siblings. In response to question two, I believe if he was able to get help before the abuse had gone too far in damaging him mentally and physically, then it would turn out to be a positive experience because he would become a stronger individual. If, however, he was abused to the point that he could not recover, and the abuse did not stop, then it would be a consistently negative experience for him, causing him to have a more negative outlook. Finally, in response to question three, I do not believe alcohol should be allowed to be used as an excuse for misbehavior, because it is the responsibility of that person to control their intake of a mind-altering substance. I think people's actions while under the influence are both the fault of themselves and the alcohol itself, so the consequences for their actions should they be bad should be implemented on the person, even if they did not have control, because it was their choice and responsibility to remain in control.

Kara K. 5/6 said...

Hannah I agree with you that it depends on who the person is. If a person has a strong personality then their hardships will affect them less than a person who is weak in personality. In this world today it is true that usually a person who has a negitive outlook tends to get worse, because it is harded to become positive from negative rather than positive to negative.
Matt that is a good thought to confront the abuser; however, in the world today if someone such as a young adult like us confronts an abuser we usually will just get abused too. I think it would be better if you took legal action and let the polic deal with it instead of trying to solve it yourself. You can first try it yourself, and if it works then thats awesome, but usually legal action has to be taken when physical abuse is occuring. Also, I agree that if he is able to obtain help, then his life will work out for the better hopefully, and if he does not get help, then his life will be doomed. Lastly, I feel, like you did that alcohol is not an excuse for bad behavior. People have to take their actions in their own hands.

Sarah 5-6 said...

To answer question three: Alcohol is definately not an excuse for people being cruel like that. I remember a coworker telling me about the first book and I literally sat there with wide eyes. I couldn't believe a mother could do that to their own child. Even when drinking, a person should still have self dignity in how they act especially when it comes to their family's safety. People should definately have self control when they consume alcohol. It's ridiculous to think someone would let it go as far as she did. Parents are parents for a reason and my belief is, if your going to treat your child like that, you don't deserve to have custody at all.

Kara K. 5/6 said...

I agree Sarah. Alcohol is not an excuse and it is ridiculous that a mother could do this to their child. Parents should treat their children with respect just as the children are suposed to do back. Children should be taken out of that parents house immediatly once abuse starts.