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22.4.2021

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Characterization: Gary
Gary Searle, a teenage boy, is one of the protagonists in Todd Strasser's novel "Give a Boy a
Gun" which was first pu

Characterization: Gary Gary Searle, a teenage boy, is one of the protagonists in Todd Strasser's novel "Give a Boy a Gun" which was first published in the year 2000. The expert from the novel is Gary's suicide letter to his mum. In the letter he talks about his feelings and why he deemed it necessary to take students from his school with him to the grave. Gary committed suicide due to bullying at school after also taking the lives of his bullies. His actions point to the fact that he was severely depressed and generally miserable and unhappy with his life ("I guess it's because I know I'll never be happy.") He had lost all hope of his life becoming better and simply gave up. That also shows that he was a very pessimistic and mentally weak and unstable. Although the bullying affected him majorly, he tries to play it off and partly even accepts it. From that one can conclude that he had self-esteem issues and wanted to seem strong in front of his friends. Instead of just ending his life, though, he sought revenge on his bullies and their families, which clearly indicates his anger and frustration. Although his actions are inexcusable, he did try to send a message with his death,...

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because he did not want any other kids to experience what he went through. From that one can tell that he was compassionate and still cared about others and could have theoretically solved the situation much better, but his feelings of hopelessness and anger made him act in a way most people would not. In addition to that, he was greatly influenced by his friend Brendan, which could mean that he was not a very self- reliant person and was not really able to rationally think for himself. Furthermore, Gary says in his letter that he still loves his mum and was sorry that he put her through his death ("I'm truly, truly sorry that I'm going to put you through so much pain [...]"). That shows that he was not a heartless person, he just got lost in his sadness and depression, which made him act the way he did. He clearly had communication problems, because he neither talked to his mum about his thoughts and problems nor his friends, which could have resolved the situation in a much calmer and reasonable manner. In conclusion, one can say that Gary definitely had deep mental problems, but he was not a bad person with bad intentions from the beginning. Being surrounded and influenced by the wrong people definitely took a toll on his mental health and way of thinking, which does indicate signs of mental weakness. By talking to someone he could have potentially been able to get over his problems, but due to his bullying and the fact that he was negatively influenced by his friend Brendan, he was too depressed and hopeless to see a reason to not give up.