That bullies are all cowards cliche doesn't seem very illuminating ab modern bullydom anyway. Hi Jeff, Poetics is the art of writing poetry, or the study of linguistic techniques in poetry and literature. This short story is a study of techniques used in bullying, of the elements that make up bullies. Bullies are cowards because instead of confronting the problems within themselves, they choose to confront the world around them instead. Ironically, this can lead bullies to be fairly high-achieving in their fields. Push is always almost perfectly self-aware.
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Summer Broeckx-Smith. Writing Push is a half-hearted psychological bully who uses no other physical violence than pushing; however, there is not a child in the school or neighborhood who does not fear Push and his relentless teasing. He makes it clear that no one is free from his harassment. Like most bullies, it seems that Push has an alternative motive for his trouble other than finding pleasure in the pain of others. He has isolated himself from the other children and his only friend fears him.
This craving for dominance seems to be both a conscious and subconscious desire. Push actively bullies other kids to satisfy his own lack of self esteem. However, when a new boy comes and takes the eye of the public, Push finds John Williams cannot be bullied around like the others and this aggravates him. What starts out as a subconscious longing for acceptance ultimately emerges as a conscious obsession. Push makes it his goal to force John Williams into submission and as the new boy becomes more popular, Push gets increasingly persistent.
He craves the attention John is receiving, and this desire eventually propels Push into a final confrontation with the boy. One example of evidence the author uses to portray a conscious attempt for power by a jealous Push is in the beginning when a parent addresses a bullying incident.
Curiously, Push silently agrees. He mulls over all the niches he wished he could occupy, jealous of the different people he could be, wanting to be anyone but himself. He longs for something, a quality or trait, which makes him unique and loved by someone. He does not want to be Push the Bully who is an isolated, feared loner. The bully feels separated from his peers and therefore makes fun of their foibles. Push claims that he gives attention to other outcasts, like himself.
Usually, Push gets some satisfaction from the response of his victims as they run from him or cower in fear. This attention, regardless of how minor, is essential to the bully because it is the only way he is acknowledged. Once Elkin introduces John Williams to the story, the bully is deprived of even this small amount of attention as the children gain confidence and cease to fear him.
Push the Bully is jealous of the quirks that set his peers apart and he even admits his jealousy of John Williams. This strips more power from Push as he tries to reclaim the upper hand. Slowly, the children act as though they are no longer afraid of being bullied. Push recognizes this and blames it on John Williams and the changes he has brought about since his arrival.
He has built up such a hate for John Williams that when the attention he has been seeking finally appears on his front doorstep, the bully cannot accept the offer. He feels powerless: powerless to remove John from his doorway, powerless to control John. Push is so torn between what his heart wants and what his pride wants that his eyes begin to moisten. This encounter drives Push to the decision to fight John Williams to finally settle the power struggle that has escalated throughout the story.
Once again John Williams offers Push his hand but Push refuses to surrender his dominance to this paradigm. Push resolves for Williams to never control him. The bully believes that by denying John his friendship, he still holds some power over the boy. With this decision, a surge of a feeling of dominance rushes through Push; he confidently hollers at the children, trying to convince himself and them that he has control, that he will have power over something.
Therefore, the tone of the story gives off a bitter, envious vibe. The words carry a certain spiteful edge that creates a feeling of loneliness and defensiveness. I turned once at the gate, and the boys were around him still.
The useless Eugene had moved closer. This passage is merely an account of the actions of the characters in the story. Consequently, the more he bullies the children, the more they want to distance themselves from him. It seems he cannot win given the situation he has worked his way into. Push has the choice of turning over a new leaf and trying to incorporate sentiments of kindness and gentleness; he is even given a distinct opportunity which he blatantly turns down.
Elkin, Stanley. Raymond Carver and Tom Jenks. New York, New York. Dell Publishing. Summer Sunshine Broeckx-Smith site map. Home WRT Works Cited Elkin, Stanley. Pgs Show Comments 0 and Tags. In order to comment on this portfolio you must be logged in to the school or organization it is associated with. If you have a Digication account, you may log in below: username: password:.
A Poetics for Bullies by Stanley Elkin
That information made me question Push as a bully. Anyway, as the story moves on, a new character is introduced. His name is John Williams, and he is described as being pretty and perfect. Push was not able to mimic his voice or find anything wrong with him to pick on. John begins to attract the kids who have problems, the kids that Push is usually picking on. And he acts as a tutor for the dumb kid by helping study and encouraging him to be on the honor roll.
A Poetics for Bullies Analysis
Summer Broeckx-Smith. Writing Push is a half-hearted psychological bully who uses no other physical violence than pushing; however, there is not a child in the school or neighborhood who does not fear Push and his relentless teasing. He makes it clear that no one is free from his harassment. Like most bullies, it seems that Push has an alternative motive for his trouble other than finding pleasure in the pain of others. He has isolated himself from the other children and his only friend fears him. This craving for dominance seems to be both a conscious and subconscious desire.
‘A Poetics For Bullies’ by Stanley Elkin
Already have an account? Log in! I'm Push the bully, and what I hate are new kids and sissies, dumb kids and smart, rich kids, poor kids, kids who wear glasses, talk funny, show off, patrol boys and wise guys and kids who pass pencils and water the plants — and cripples, especially cripples. I love nobody loved.
A Poetics for Bullies
Archetypes, themes, and symbols are some of the many patterns one can identify in literature. In A Poetics for Bullies by Stanley Elkin, Push, the main character, displays patterns of same behavior towards everyone around him. He repeatedly picks and torments everyone around him. These patterns of bullying are something we see in plenty of other novels. The bullying and harassment of others is a common theme used in literature to create patterns of characterization of a bully. Symbols are something used to represent an idea or object. He is charismatic and intelligent for a bully with his choice of words.