- This topic has 8 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 5 years, 9 months ago by Miss Linda.
January 26, 2015 at 10:22 pm #1621
In chapter 33, “A Reckoning for the Bunge,” Janner stands up to Grigory. Have you ever had to face a bully, whether they picked on you or someone else? What did you do? Did it make the situation better? If you’ve read chapter 33, what did you think of Janner’s solution? Would you have done anything differently?
January 28, 2015 at 3:01 pm #1667BronzeGuest
Wow, first can I just say how much I love your profile picture? Madame Sidler, you look exactly how I pictured you! I’ll have to draw you when I have to time to do WFS fanart. <3
Being a wonderfully sheltered homeschooler, I’ve never had real bully troubles. :/ But I love to see how the characters deal with bullies in stories, especially Janner. He was such a king in that scene! I was swept away by the epicness. Once agian, I connected with him so well that I almost felt like I was Janner himself.
January 29, 2015 at 11:29 am #1671
Bronze, thank you! What an honor. 🙂
January 29, 2015 at 11:22 pm #1684TenethiaGuest
Like, Bronze, I’m homeschooled, but unlike Bronze, I’ve had to deal with some bullies. It’s been a while, but I distinctly remember not handling it nearly as well as Janner. Probably this was because I was sticking up for /myself/ when I could’ve left the situation and never seen the kid again 😛
I think if Janner had been standing up for himself in that chapter, he would’ve been as much of a bully as Bunge himself. I mean, what do you call someone who jumps on someone else and uses fear to get their way? But in that instance, Janner dealt with that well. He wasn’t fighting for himself. He was fighting for his family. He wasn’t attacking because he desired to be mean. He was attacking because his family was being attacked.
Not a bully. A protector.
February 4, 2015 at 12:31 pm #1761
i love the distinction between bullying and protecting, Tenethia.
June 20, 2015 at 10:54 pm #2830Miss LindaGuest
I must confess, now that I’ve started rereading this book, I’m really dreading parts of it. Even though I haven’t had to deal with bullying for more than 20 years now, even though it was never severe and the memories have faded somewhat, I still find the whole topic difficult.
I’m not sure how much I want to say, so for now, I will keep most of my thoughts about this in my head or in my journal. But I did want to say that even though I don’t enjoy reading it, I’m glad that this theme is included. It needs to be talked about, and not just by children. I wonder if I would have found a better way of handling things, or been able to talk about them more easily, if these books had been written when I was a kid, but that is probably just one of those questions that only the Maker could know the answer to, and He isn’t telling.
August 1, 2015 at 1:13 am #3119Miss MaryGuest
This is a difficult question for me as well. Especially figuring out the difference between bullying and protecting. I am not sure there is as clear cut of a line there as we would like there to be. The people of the Green Hollows who were so cruel to the Wingfeathers probably thought they WERE protecting their families by being bullies. They were trying to get a clear and obvious danger away from their children (or in the case of the children involved, the other children) when their government (Rudric) had failed to protect them due to politics (and because he likes Nia).
We don’t see it that way because we know who and what Kal can be, but the truth is he WAS dangerous, not in the eating children sense (though they could not have known that….he didn’t know either). But he was certainly going to bring the attention of Gnag down on the hollows like it had never been before. Sheltering a king in exile is inherently dangerous, even when he doesn’t look like a fang. When he does, people are absolutely going to be against it, and for good reason. They are risking their lives and the lives of everyone they have ever met for this one family…and he looks like a member of the worst enemy army they have ever seen. How many of us would really be willing to do that? They probably would have been a lot more willing to take that risk if he looked like a relative (which he is) and not like a fang (which he also is…sort of).
I don’t think that what they were doing is right. I think it was underhanded and manipulative and trying to find ways to overstep the authority they actually had, but it was based out of a desire to protect…the protect self, family, friends, neighbors, things, even a way of life, but in the desire to protect you still have to remember who you are (and who you are called to be) and act accordingly. As men (and boys) of the Green Hollows, known for their skill and bravery instead of bullying him like they did, if they were not sure he could be trusted (which was understandable) why not get volunteers of the best and strongest students to sit with him in his classes, and eat with him and basically be around him all the time in case anything happens? Yes, it might be something like having guards with him, but they would also get to know him, and all the other students would be safer for it and they would find out what he is like and whether he is more like a fang or a boy.
This is getting really long, and I didn’t expect my thoughts to go this direction when I first started typing. I hope it all makes sense to someone.
August 16, 2015 at 12:40 am #3248Miss LindaGuest
As I was reading this, I remembered in the first book how badly the people of Glipwood reacted initially when the family killed the Fangs instead of going in the Black Carriage. Even though these were their friends and neighbors, it looked for a minute like the whole town was going to turn against them. These weren’t bullies, these were friends. But when it came down to a choice between loving and helping the Igibys or their own safety and comfort, a lot of the town had a hard time with the choice.
Protecting those we love is a good thing. It is what Peet lives for, and we love Peet, in part because of his wholehearted devotion to the people he loves. But there are times when protecting can become something that is not good, if it is not handled well. As Miss Mary pointed out, the people of the Hollows probably thought they were protecting their families, but they were doing it in a wrong way, at the expense of someone else. That is also how the Dugtowners tried to protect their children… by enslaving other peoples’ children. The citizens of Glipwood ended up doing it well- although they were upset, they accepted the situation and chose to protect their families in ways that didn’t harm others, by leaving town or by staying and accepting the consequences. They had the option of trying to capture the Igibys themselves and hand them over to the Fangs when they came, in the hope that the Fangs would spare the town. I don’t know if the idea occurred to them or not. I’m also not sure how well that would have worked out, since I doubt anyone in that town was as good a fighter as Podo OR Peet, much less the two fighting together. But they could have tried.
There has to be a way to protect the people you love, but without doing wrong to the other people around you. I’m not sure if Janner found the right balance, but I think he was trying. I can tell he was trying because he told the other students that he didn’t want to fight them, but would if he needed to. He left Grigory alone after the one fight. Janner didn’t try to control Grigory, other than stopping the worst of the persecution towards Kal. He didn’t start bullying Grigory, even though after that fight, the power had shifted and he probably could have.
But I think maybe the problem I have is that “protecting the people I love, without doing harm to the others around me” means there are people around me who I don’t love. Obviously we are going to be closer to some people than others and have more emotional connection to some people. But maybe it is important to be looking out for the best interests of EVERYONE, not just the people I am closest to. Maybe in that way, I can protect someone without harming someone else in the process.
Miss Mary’s idea of how the people of the Green Hollows could have handled Kal is potentially brilliant. It could have reduced the risk to their children without doing harm to Kal, as long as the people assigned to stay with him were able to be fair and choose to care about him too. We know it is possible, because that is what Janner did later on. When Kal was arrested, Janner was protecting Kal from the mob, but he was also protecting the mob FROM Kal at the same time. In that moment, he found a way to do both.
August 2, 2015 at 10:34 pm #3154Miss LindaGuest
I really have a hard time with this section of the book. It raises questions that I am not able to answer, and it brings up a lot of memories and old feelings that I often would rather leave undisturbed. (Wait… that sounds like some other characters in book 4, and I don’t think I want to be like them. Remembering may hurt, but not remembering may cost more in the long run… nevermind. That is for another section anyway.)
When I was a kid, I often judged my decisions and actions based on the consequences they produced. Janner’s actions did lessen the aggression towards them and give them some measure of peace, so that would have been enough for me when I was young. Whether it was right or wrong wouldn’t have mattered that much to me, because all I cared about was how effective an action was at getting me what I wanted. But as I have grown as a believer, I want to please God and live my life as a reflection of Him. That makes the question of how to deal with bullies MUCH more complicated for me, although thankfully as an adult I rarely encounter them anymore and they don’t have the same level of power that they had when I was younger.
The bullying I dealt with more social and emotional bullying, rather than physical. It was more about being unwelcome, being teased and made fun of, and being excluded than any fear of being harmed. Kal gets plenty of this kind too, since they are calling him a dog and saying he smells and things like that, but I think Janner is the one who is more hurt by this type of bullying in this book. He wants friends and a place to belong, and as long as he is with his brother, he can’t have that in Ban Rona.
I tried many different approaches to dealing with it- ignoring it and pretending I didn’t care, trying to figure out what made me so different and change it, trying to just blend in or become as invisible as I could, arguing with them, trying to embarrass or annoy the people who were teasing me, and many other things. Most people say that if you are being bullied, you need to talk to a trusted adult and let them help you. I might even give that advice to someone if they asked me, especially if there is physical danger involved. But in my own life, I found that advice to be absolutely useless. A lot of the bullying was done in front of adults who were apparently powerless to stop it or perhaps some just didn’t care. Other times when I tried to talk to someone, I suspect I failed to really communicate what was happening. Advice like “smile and be friendly” or “try to talk to them about it” doesn’t work when teasing you has become a hobby for half the people in the room, and the other half just watches and laughs or stays quiet.
One of the hardest things for me to handle about the bullying that I experienced was that it was relentless. NOTHING I did stopped it from happening for long. The few times I managed to really humiliate the person teasing me, I could stop the teasing for a few hours or maybe a few days, but it always started up again. (Just to be clear, I am not proud of that and don’t recommend it. Yes, it felt good at the time and I thought I was justified in doing it. But I know it was sin. I was trying to hurt them the same way they were hurting me. I hope none of them are still carrying the scars from what I did.) But even then, what I really wanted was to be accepted, or at least tolerated, and be part of the group. That isn’t going to happen, even (or maybe especially!) if you beat someone up or if you humiliate them. The “best” I could hope for at the time was to be ignored for a while and thus be allowed to hang around the edges of the conversations other people were having and pretend that I was somehow part of the group. As strange as it sounds considering the type of group it was, I desperately wanted to be part of it and feel like I belonged. If I had known a way to make that happen, I probably would have done whatever it took, no matter how wrong it was. But there was nothing I could do, so I just endured it until my circumstances changed and I didn’t have to see those people anymore.
So now I’m trying to come up with some more positive things that I can offer, since this post so far is not very hopeful or helpful.
What helped me get through that time:
I had a family that loved me and I knew it. Even if the rest of the world seemed awful, home was a good place. As a result, I at least had a place that I knew I belonged and an identity as something other than an outcast.
I wasn’t alone for most of it. I’m a twin and most of the teasing I experienced was directed at “us” and not just at “me.” That doesn’t negate the effects, but it did help somewhat.
I did have a few friends. Often they were the other kids who were teased or didn’t fit in for some reason, so they were willing to risk a friendship that might be socially damaging. It mattered to have people who liked me and wanted to be around me, even if it couldn’t stop the larger pattern. One person who accepts you proves that you aren’t fundamentally unacceptable.
If you are being bullied, I don’t know what to tell you, really. I don’t know how to make it stop, and I’m sure that is what you want. But I do know that another type of life is possible. Just because one group of people rejects you or treats you badly doesn’t mean that everyone will or that this is what you deserve. I so wish I had an answer for you, but I don’t.
For those who know someone being bullied, please don’t just ignore it. Don’t pretend it isn’t happening or that it is normal or that they deserved it somehow. Care about them and let them know it. Even if you can’t stop it (and you probably can’t), at least letting the person know that not everyone agrees with the bullies can help. It can give them room to have another identity, another name, than the one the bullies are using. I know that if you speak out or do anything about bullying, you will risk being picked on too. I don’t take that lightly, because I know how much it can hurt. But being willing to suffer with someone is a huge statement to them of how much you think they are worth. It can go a long way toward making their pain easier to bear.
I wish I could say that after more than 20 years, that this is all behind me and doesn’t make any difference now, but that hasn’t been my experience. While it was happening, I thought it wasn’t that bad, that it wasn’t really impacting me, and really, I thought it was normal. That is just how life was and I really didn’t know anything different. Once it was over for that day or week, I would try to forget about it. Later, I thought that once I didn’t see those people anymore, it wouldn’t matter. But the truth is that as the years go on, I keep discovering more ways that it has mattered, ways it has shaped the way I think and act and what I believe about myself, others, and God. The impact runs so deep that I can’t even guess who I would be if those experiences hadn’t happened. I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing- it just is.
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