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Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes

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Elisabeth Alkier

on 8 May 2013

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Transcript of Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes

How do devastating events that happen to other people affect our lives? My Essential Question: My thinking: This question fits my book perfectly. The entire book revolves around Sarah Byrnes' condition-- a condition brought on by actions taken by her abusive father. When Sarah's father burned her as a child, he affected many more lives than just Sarah's-- including Eric's. Conflict: The main conflict of my book revolves around Sarah's burns and the lasting damage it has done to her both mentally and physically-- but we see this through Eric's eyes. Eric is determined to help her heal mentally, and to save Sarah from her father.

Even before Eric knows that Sarah's father burned her, and that it was not an accident, he is still determined to help her. He does this indirectly through "staying fat" metaphorically for Sarah by always including her and sticking up for her. He also does this by coming to her rescue despite all odds at the end of the book.

Had this devastating event not happened to Sarah as a child, the entire conflict of the book would be void. Eric would not have anyone to help, or anyone to "stay fat" for. Character Traits Eric's main character traits have also been shaped by Sarah Byrnes and her experiences. During middle school, Sarah Byrnes stood up for Eric. She constantly reinforced the idea that he needed to stand up for himself. Eric also gains confidence by looking at Sarah Byrnes' strength and trying to imitate that strength himself. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes By Chris Crutcher Sarah's scars aren't just physical, and they don't exclusively affect her. Compassionate Eric feels for Sarah Byrnes, and is always there to try and take care of her. This is partially because she stood up for him. Since she was deformed as a result of her burns, she helped Eric "get over" his image concerns. If it hadn't been for her burns, Eric wouldn't have been able to get over his own image issues and stand up for Sarah. Competitive Now that Eric has gotten the strength to join the swim team and is no longer totally an "outsider," he has become extremely competitive. He loves to beat Mark Brittain when he is swimming, partially because he doesn't like his attitude. His competitive nature is, again, a result of the courage that Sarah's support gave to him. Deep-Thinking Eric spends a lot of time thinking about the things that have happened to Sarah Byrnes. Her being burned, her father being abusive, the way that his fellow classmates treat her-- all of these things affect what Eric believes. Eric specifically must evaluate his idea of trust-- and when you need to break promises. Theme: A logical theme for my book is "devastating past events always affect your future-- if you allow them to." Eric: Eric's father left his mother before he was born. This event still affects Eric-- and Eric is constantly wishing that he had a good father figure to look up to. He even says these words specifically when he doesn't know what to do on his date with Jody. This event affects Eric's present because he has a difficult time trusting men. Even the teacher he trusts is a woman.

Eric finally realizes that he doesn't need a good father figure to "man-up"-- he can do this on his own. When he finally gets that courage, he becomes a hero. Sarah Byrnes: Sarah is terribly burned by her own father as a child. Her father also refused to get her reconstructive surgery, so she is still extremely scarred as a teenager.

Sarah has allowed her looks to define who she is, and she hides her feelings from the rest of the world. When she finally does she her true feelings of anger, sadness and fear, she doesn't want Eric to tell anyone. She continues to hide behind this devastating event until Eric's courage and Mrs. Lemry's acceptance and trust inspires her to move on. Jody and Mark: Jody and Mark hide the fact that they've had an abortion (Jody had it, Mark was the father. This leaves Jody feeling extremely resentful and weak, and it leave Mark questioning his faith. When the information finally comes to light, and Mark is forced to face the issue-- he isn't ready.

Only after his suicide attempt does Mark own up to what he's done. He is no longer controlled by his father's oppressive ideas, and he is able to move on. The abortion no longer controls him, and he takes responsibility for his action. Relating it back: All of these characters are controlled by events in their past, but they find ways to move on. If we look back at the essential question, all of these event affected Eric-- even Jody and Mark's. The abortion and Sarah Byrnes' abuse both make their way to Eric, and he has to find ways to deal with them. He is tested as a friend, and as a human being, to search for the solutions to problems that didn't begin with him. In helping others with their problems, Eric finds ways to solve his own. These devastating events DO affect Eric-- but then he stand up to them and moves on. My Final Answer: Devastating events in others' lives affect us, because we aren't alone. Just like in my book, we live beside other people with their own problems and pasts. We have a responsibility as friends, family members and members of the human race to respond and help those in need.

In my book, Sarah Byrnes' abuse affected Eric emotionally and spiritually. Her experiences directly shaped Eric as he grew in middle school by showing him a model for strength and courage. She was there for him-- but her strength came from her abuse.

Furthermore, it later caused him to examine his own beliefs and ideas, and it made him evaluate his own role in other people's lives. He may not have been able to erase what happened to her, but he was able to help Sarah move on and take back control when her strength was failing.
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