My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Publication Date : November 2007
Publisher : Atria Books
Jodi Picoult, thank you for writing such a good book for you readers. I'm not a loyal one, but i'm a fan now :)
I chose this topic for my thesis, bullying.
Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior manifested by the use of force or coercion to affect others, particularly when the behavior is habitual and involves an imbalance power. It can include verbal harassment, physical assault, or may be directed repeatedly over time towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality or ability. source : wikipedia
Nineteen Minutes is a story that portrayed a young boy, Peter Houghton who had been bullied for almost every day in his life. Since he began his first day of kindergarten, he had been fooled around by random boys who shared the same bus with him. Id did not stop there but keep on happening until he was in senior high school and finally he decided to end it in his own way.
"Everyone's saying I ruined their lives, but no one seemed to care when my life was the one being ruined." pg191
As a matter of fact, it is not only Peter who got bullied, but there were other students that got bullied as well. But none of them were getting very bad treatment like Peter did. Josie was used to be his friend, but then she decided to join the popular group at school and abandoned Peter.
"Why do you think they targeted you?"
"I don't know. They're like a pack. They have to make someone else feel like shit in order to feel good about themselves."
"Where do you want me to start," Peter answered, bitter. "In nursery school, when the teacher would bring out snacks, and one of them would pull out my chair so I'd fall down and everyone else would crack up? Or in second grade, when they held my head down in the toilet and they flushed it over and over, just because they knew they could? Or that time they beat me up on my way home from school and I needed stitches?" pg.191
Peter was a natural target for bullies and his life was all downhill from the first day of kindergarten when his Superman lunch box was thrown out of the school bus window onto the highway. As time passed and he got older, the same group of bullies had been slamming him into lockers, kicking him, punching him, verbally abusing him and intimidating him for as long as he could remember.
"You are the thing that used to be normal, but that may be so long ago, you can't even remember what it was like."pg195
"Did you ever tell anyone about what was going on? Parents? Teachers?"
"No one gives a crap," Peter said. "They will tell you to ignore it. They say they'll be watching out to make sure it doesn't happen, but they never watch." pg192
When the bullying took place, Peter had asked helped and reported the bullying to his parents and his teachers at school. Sadly, teachers and parents told him not take it seriously and instead told him that he needed to stick up for himself, that he has to find a way to stop the bullying happened by his own self. He was just a kid by then. Thus, when his father taught him how to use rifle, he gladly learned how to shoot. In his mind, those guns could help him solve his problem.
"I don't think I can go to your house on Friday." "How come?" "Because my mom said she'll punish me if I lose my lunch box again." "That's not fair,'Josie said. Peter shrugged. "Nothing is." pg113
Q : Why are you so interested in this topic? And what do you want to deliver to people when they read your thesis?
A : I am so interested in this topic because i'm quite aware that bullying happens in the real life as well.I want to let them know bullying is a serious problem that needs to be taken seriously. I want to let them know that bullying is wrong and it is not a funny thing to do at all. Because bullying means that we kill someone's right to feel safe and happy in world.
Just like Jodi Picoult wants to deliver her messages through writing to her readers, I myself want to deliver about the effects of bullying to my readers. That the effects of bullying may lead to long-term health and emotional effects. In this case, Peter Houghton had suffered through relentless bullying for twelve long years resulting in a serious psychological trauma. His syndrome was called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. PTSD is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in psychological
Q : How many types of bullying that you found in this novel?
A : I found four,Sir. There are physical bullying, verbal bullying, cyber bullying and sexual bullying.
Q : Explain each of it!
A : Physical bullying is a form of bullying that occurs when someone is physically harmed through being bitten, slapped, punched, kicked or any other physical attacks. In this case, Peter H had been slammed into a locker and a wall for so many times that he could remember.
Verbal Bullying occurs when someone uses language to gain power over his or her victim. In this case, the popular kid humiliated Peter by saying that he was a freak, a homo and many other name-calling.
Cyber bullying includes sending a rude, vulgar, mean, threatening messages or images, posting sensitive or negative information about another person. The popular group used an online media and instant messages to intimidate him by saying that he was a loser, fag,etc.
Sexual bullying is related to a person's appearance, body parts or sexual orientation. One of the jocks, Matt yanked Peter's pants down showing his genital in front of many students at the cafeteria. Peter was carrying a milk at that time and it spilled out through his genital, they made a joke about that by saying he was having a premature ejaculation.
Q : So, what action did he take to stop the bullying?
A : Well, actually he had tried many things to stop the bullying happened. He had reported it to teachers but they did not take his words seriously because they thought that it was just part of growing up. He had also told his parents, but instead of getting support, they told him to find a way to stop it by himself otherwise he would be punished. So, Peter Houghton finally decided to end the bullying by his own self. He took a violent and extreme action by carrying four guns at school, and used two of them to shot nineteen people, resulting ten were dead and nine were wounded. As the result, he was convicted with eight counts of first degree murder and two counts of manslaughter and sentenced to life in prison. And one month after the conviction, he decided to end his life by suffocating himself with a soak.
The questions above were questions that my examiners asked me yesterday when I was having my green table examination. I answered them confidently like I was telling a story or something like that. To be honest, I'm not a good storyteller. I'm better in writing than speaking. But I don't want to go into a war without any weapons. So, I studied, reading my post-it that I pasted all over my laptop and practice everyday. Thank God I did not mess up anything. Instead my examiners seemed to enjoy the time we had and even asked for more details about Peter showing that they were interested in this topic. As the result I got an A. Thank God. Thank you again, Jodi.