People often say that children are just like angels, pure and sinless. Children are regarded to be gentle and openhearted. Though, is it really so? Why than do we have so many talks about children violence? Quite a lot of books depict or consider the issue. Two brilliant short stories, “Celia Behind Me” by Isabel Huggan and “The Bully” by James Reaney, reveal the major points which build up the violence in children.
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These two short stories depict two main factors which contribute to forming violence. These are home and school, family and society. First of all, it is necessary to point out that the main characters of the both stories are suppressed at home. For instance, Elizabeth is often suppressed with her parents’ disapprovals.
She is always persuaded to be nice and kind to Celia. These constant arguments only caused the reversed effect, and Elizabeth did not understand then that Celia is worth assistance, for Elizabeth she became an instrument of her, Elizabeth’s, self-affirmation.
Instead of helping Celia to become stronger more confident, Elizabeth is concentrated on her own affairs. The tension in her relations with her parents contributes to the development of the necessity to prove that she is better than that, actually, that she is the best. She seeks for opportunities to become more confident, sometimes at the expense of others.
Reany also depicts the atmosphere at home as the element of violence emerging in children. The children in Reany’s story live in very unfavorable conditions, under which not very strong characters can feel really miserable. Reany claims that even the house itself is ashamed to live in those conditions (is is always blushing during the rain), where the father is not a proper farmer, instead he is a great talker.
The mother’s death brings two complications for children: the death itself derived children from motherly love and care; it also brought their constantly ill aunt to take care of them. The main character and his little sister are not so strong, as their elder sister, to handle with those filthy circumstances.
The only things they experience in their childhood are dull working days, aunt’s roughness and too little fun. Under such circumstances the younger siblings start envying and get annoyed with their elder sister’s strength and fitness to any situation. The boy feels that he is weak, but his sister, though being slightly elder, is even weaker. And this weakness suppresses the boy even more than the overall surrounding.
It is worth mentioning that both stories reveal that girls are more subjected to this problem. It does not mean that girls fight more than boys, but they are still more subjected to forming and revealing violence. This fact may be due to girls’ being more emotional, thus, more affected by the different outer influences. Girls’ anxiety is deeper; girls are likely to show violence (not physical, rather emotional) to prove that they are stronger.
Society is another powerful factor contributing to violence forming. The first experience of social interaction children meet at school. It is an institution which educates children not only in terms of mathematics and literature, but it also is a kind of rehearsal before the big life with its obstacles and confrontations.
Children do not understand what school is before they start studying. For example, Reany’s main character perceives the school, which is slightly discernible from his yard, as something odd and unpredictable, which is going to take five years of his life. But it is the place where he will experience his first violence.
The school influence on children violence is better revealed in “Celia Behind Me”. Here Huggan depicts in detail the process of children appreciation or disapproval, children estimating their classmates, children mocking at those who are weak or just not like the rest. Here Elisabeth, being quite suitable object for taunts, is hiding behind Celia.
Elisabeth is likely to mock at Ceila, to defend herself. She doesn’t feel the necessity of violence for the sake of violence, but if everyone will stop taunting Celia, Elizabeth is the next to be mocked at. Elizabeth feels her own weakness, which prevents her from helping Celia, since she, Elizabeth, is not strong enough to defend herself. In this case violence is a kind of self-defense, though, it cannot be justified anyway.
Thus, these stories show what children violence is and how it appears. These stories reveal children feelings, facing and causing injustice and taunts. Those feeling can never be forgotten, they can only darken the memories about the childhood and adolescent. These stories explain the essence of saying that children can be so cruel because of their being so kind and pure.
Children can feel the weakness of the others, they can taunts, but they do not understand yet what consequence it can bring. Children can be very cruel, without understanding this cruelty. Only in the course of time already grown-up people understand their filthiness, but sometimes it can be too late.