English [Course Number]
This short story by Roger Dean Kiser is one of his poignant autobiographical stories. Roger who was abandoned as a child, recalls his painful and difficult childhood memories, one such incident is narrated in this story. It is basically about how a bullying victim later meets his bully and his reactions to it. On another level it depicts how the narrator grows in character and personality during the story.
The whole story is set in a restaurant during one afternoon. The narrator begins by telling how he walked in a restaurant Huddle House in Brunswick, Georgia and where the story unfolds. The narrator proceeds to sit down at the counter as all the booths are taken.
There are three characters in this story, the protagonist – Roger Kiser himself, the antagonist – Tony Claxton and Tony’s wife. Roger is an abandoned child growing up in an orphanage; hence school was very difficult for him. However his life’s difficult experiences, though have made him relatively angry about his perpetrator they have not embittered him. Tony Claxton was the school bully, who tormented Roger significantly in his growing up years. However, now he is a weakened cripple not being able to handle the simple everyday tasks and has grown resigned to his fate. Tony’s wife seems to love him and is willing to take care of him.
When the story begins, the narrator, now an adult is in a restaurant, he is approached by a woman who points at her husband saying he knows the narrator. Though he denies it initially, realization dawns on him and he identifies him to be his bully from school. When he recalls the bullying he was subjected to he realizes how angry he is after all these years. But as soon as he sees that his bully of yesteryears is a weakened cripple and a defeated shadow of himself, his anger seems to dissipate. Through this narration it is clear what effect the bully has on the narrator. In the end when the narrator is generous enough to help him and also offers friendship the narrator seems to rise above the anger and forgives the bully. This is further evident towards the end of the story when the narrator tries to make the bully see the positive side by telling him he has someone who loves him. The narrator looks forward to making a friend out of his erstwhile bully.
There are several conflicts the reader senses in the course of the story like,
Man vs. Man – The way the narrator was tormented by the bully before.
Man vs. Nature – The manner in which the bully Tony is now crippled, weakened and resigned is destined to struggle even for small everyday tasks.
Man vs. Society – The struggle of the narrator when he was younger as he was different from the rest, by being an abandoned child and growing up in an orphanage
Man vs. Self – The narrator deals with his internal anger towards the bully, but his better self, triumphs over it when he sees the pathetic state of his erstwhile perpetrator.
The theme of this story is the triumph of good nature and forgiveness over the anger bitterness one might in some situations acquire, and how the narrator gets there. The narrator realizes that forgiveness might earn him a friend. The Bully is a simple but moving story with a strong message.
Kiser, Roger Dean. “The Life and Times of Roger Dean Kiser.” 1999-2007. Web. 08 Jul. 2015. <http://www.rogerdeankiser.com/>
Ben-David, Danielle. "The Bully" by: Roger Dean Kiser RJ#11. RJ 2011-2012 . Web. 08 Jul. 2015 <http://daniellebendavidsrj2011-2012.blogspot.in/2011/11/bully-byroger-dean-kiser-rj11.html>