Theme Of A Letter To A Playground Bully

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Most human conflicts can be boiled down to one word: disrespect. Everything starts with a lack of mutual respect and of understanding, be it a playground put-downs, domestic disputes, or even, a war. Andrea Gibson’s A Letter to a Playground Bully From Andrea, Age 8½ is a request for respect and understanding so that a conflict between bully and bullied may end. The letter lays out Andrea’s understanding of her bully with well chosen diction, allowing the bully to relate to Andrea in their shared flaws and flawed families in the hopes that she stops harassing her. Andrea uses related words to link together different pieces of the poem in order to create a grander narrative. For instance, the line, “it is totally fine if I blow off steam /…show more content…
She wants her letter to leave an impact in the bully’s life, even if it’s only as big as a fingerprint. Andrea realizes that both she and her bully are flawed and that both of them are deserving of respect. Not only does Andrea connect related words, she also makes words and stanzas with double meaning. She uses these to suggest that both she and her bully have a dysfunctional and possibly abusive home life. This allows Andrea to better relate to the bully. In stanza fourteen, about the attics, can be interpreted as saying that Andrea’s father was an addict who left home and that, instead of seeking validation through her parents, she seeks it from “the sticks and stones,” (46) referencing the words that would never hurt her, but did. This would explain why she is a sensitive kid who a bully would prey on. This stanza could conversely be about the bully, and how her father is an addict and she is neglected, so she becomes violent and resorts to using “sticks and stones” (46) on the other children. The topic of abuse ends in the twenty-third stanza and it again represents both Andrea and her bully. It uses the an analogy of a belt to represent a dysfunctional family as something that can “hold some[one] up”
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