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A Child Called "It"

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Rebekah Wilkerson

on 12 March 2015

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Transcript of A Child Called "It"

Major Characters
David Pelzer
Catherine Roerva Pelzer
Stephen Joseph Pelzer
The story takes place in Daly City, California when David is between the ages four and twelve.
Author's purpose
Stephen Joseph Pelzer
Stephen Pelzer shows kindness towards David by presenting him Christmas gifts against his wife's will. David looks toward him for protection, but he "lacked the courage to rescue [David]" (134).
Title Meaning
The boy was not treated like a human, and his mom thought of him as “a nobody! An It!" and even wished that David "were dead!” (140).
A Child Called "It"
By Dave Pelzer

Personality Changes
She becomes quite manipulative. When other children were over she "treated them like kings," but to David she was so cruel that it was like "living in a nightmare that Mother had created" (38-39).
The story is made not only to show readers that kind, loving parents can become cruel and abusive, but to also show that the human spirit can overcome anything by will (164).
Author's Background
Dave Pelzer is a survivor of child abuse, and an activist that has inspired those that have been victimized. Dave is a living testament of a self-made man, who has dedicated his life to helping others help themselves.
Writing Style
The author uses imagery to provoke the reader into empathizing with the agony he felt. He also uses symbolism to represent the constant struggle he faced as a young boy. The syntax and diction he uses reflects that of a child.
He provides detail of his arm being burned by depicting that his "skin seemed to explode" and that he "could smell the scorched hairs" (41).
The major symbol across the book, is food, which David and his mother constantly fight over. The food symbolizes power, and his mother continually starves David in order to show her power over him. When David steals food, he feels empowered because he "was the king, and like a king [David] gazed down on [his] food and smiled" (79).
David lost his faith in God by reasoning that "no
God would leave [him] like this" (131). However toward the end of the narrative, when David had no one to protect him, he whispered the Lord's Prayer. Throughout his life his faith grew, and he even notes that he found strength in himself "knowing the good Lord was always over [his] shoulder” (157).
David Pelzer
He lives in a caring family home until his mother begins abusing him. But he is the sole victim of his mother's abuse, and is only able to withstand her cruel games through sheer determination. He finds strength in himself, though the situation seems hopeless.
Catherine Roerva Pelzer
She always took care of the family and always had ideas, but "her greatest asset was her determination" (18). She enjoyed cooking "new and exotic meals," and she was an "absolute clean fiend" (19).
Stephen Pelzer is powerless against his wife's abusive tendency. He watches passively as David is forced to swallow ammonia, and makes no attempt to intervene. He would "spend less time at home," but eventually he "didn't even stay home" (101-103).
Personality Changes
David vowed that he would never give his mother the "satisfaction of hearing [him] beg her to stop" (43).
David, at one point began to think the abuse was his own fault, and David "hated [himself] more than anybody or anything" (136).
David was resolute in his burning hatred towards this source of his pain, going so far as to say "she could beat me only if I died, and I was determined not to give in" (91).
David was no longer recognized as a person, and desired only one "ounce of respect: one little bit of dignity" (106)

David was so hurt by his mother's treatment to him that he wanted her to "feel the magnitude of [his] pain and [his] loneliness" (133-134)

The story starts by explaining how happy the family was, but then things take a turn for the worst. David's mother played cruel "games" in order to punish him.
Full transcript