Book Review On Emotional And Cognitive Impact Of The Book On Me

Published: 2021-06-24 09:35:04
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Category: Literature, Books, Family, Children, Parents, Violence, Abuse, Bullying

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Reflections on the reading of the book ‘‘A Child called ‘IT’ – Themes, Main points, analysis of characters, impact on my professional and personal evolution as an individual
[The author’s name]
Abstract
This paper will present you with the personal reflections caused by the reading of the book ‘A Child called ΄΄It΄΄’. Written by David Pelzer and published on September 1, 1995, this book depicts, in an extremely detailed description, the writer’s childhood of a severe abuse by his mother. David Pelzer suffered abuse by his mother and total apathy by his father, from the age of four till the age of twelve. His memoir ‘A child called ΄It΄ ’became an international best seller, regarded by the literary community as a documentary of the worst stories of child abuse, ever witnessed in California history. This paper focuses on the issues and thoughts risen by this story according to the questions discussed in class.
Key words: child abuse, emotional and cognitive impact of children’s maltreatment, society’s role in preventing or dealing with such issues
Reflections on the reading of the book ‘‘A Child called ‘IT’ – Themes, Main points, analysis of characters, impact on my professional and personal evolution as an individual
Marcus Tullius Cicero once said that ‘A room without books is like a body without soul’ in a wish to express his personal belief in the invaluable contribution of books to people’s personal evolution and broadening of horizons. David Pelzer’s memoir is one of the books whose reading has had a great impact on society since it approached in a very emotional way a social issue of great importance. Child maltreatment is a social issue of heated debate since it still troubles societies as far as the most effective ways of dealing with it are concerned and / or ways of preventing it from happening, not to mention the ‘who is to blame’ question which even nowadays remains unanswered.
It is my personal belief that the emotional and cognitive impact of my reading this book has a lot in common with the impact on its other readers as well. The extremely detailed description of unimaginable tortures and violence suffered by the writer himself while a child, can leave no reader pathetic or untouched. David Pelzer, standing now on the threshold of his balanced life as an adult, being a father himself, shares with the world the worst nightmare beyond any borders of wild imagination. A woman, mother of five boys, turns just out of nothing, without any obvious, easily visible reason to the wildest, most violent parent. But the most outrageous of all is that her violence and mental disorder characterizing her behavior has only one receiver, the third boy of the family, who is no one else but himself. While reading the book I went through different waves of emotions. Anger, deep sorrow, weakness to keep on reading the descriptions of the tortures, fear of what may be happening to people next door without us knowing, are the basic pieces of my emotional puzzle. And now that the puzzle has been formed there is one word labelling my experience. The word is ‘awareness’ and keeps on flashing like a red light, having changed my cognitive background. There is one thing I am certain of which I was unaware till I read this book. I am not fully aware of what child abuse really is, of how easily it may become part of someone’s life with no obvious reason and of the pathetic social environment within which children’s maltreatment grows. I had no idea that there may be cases of children’s abuse which though perceived on behalf of outside sources like teachers or neighbors, there may be so little interference in trying to change it or even none at all. There is one specific instance which had the greatest impact on me. It is the moment when Dave describes how he felt and interpreted his personal nightmare ‘At the core of my soul, I hated myself more than anybody or anything. I came to believe that everything that happened to me or around me was my own fault because I had let it go on for so long. I wanted what others had, but saw no way to get it, so I hated them for having it.’ The moment I read this I felt a scream was trying to come out of the inner part of my soul. Dave had fallen in the trap almost all abused people fall in. he had come to believe that he deserved every single torture he experienced. He had come to make himself familiar with the total lack of love for himself. Not only did he feel a kind of satisfaction for what he was experiencing since he was convinced that he deserved nothing but pain, but his self-hate had started turning into hate for all other people. This is the moment when I felt the greatest pain of all. The worst damage, the worst disaster for an individual’s personality is to lose his / her humanism. And victims of abuse, of violent behavior become the worst, most miserable and most dangerous victimizers of all. Dave had started turning into a victimizer of himself. What future lies in a society where people live space for such events taking place? What future can anyone imagine for destroyed souls, deprived of the most ultimate value of human existence which is nothing else but giving and sharing love? Every book opens my mind and changes my way of looking at things, regardless of its context or field. But this book has changed me dramatically in the terms of my will to help in making societies aware of children’s abuse and in finding ways to deal with it promptly and effectively.
The story’s main points relating to child’s maltreatment
The unfolding of Dave’s personal story brings us face to face with a number of issues relating to the major issue of children’s abuse. Reading the book we come to realize and accept whether we like it or not the fact that abuse is an alive danger threatening the health of societies, deriving from a number of reasons which are beyond society’s reach. Dave’s mother seems to represent a typical image of a caring and loving mother who has devoted her life in making sure that she does everything she can so that she contributes to her children’s and husband’s prosperity. Dave’s first memories of his first four years of life consist of daily trips coming as a nice surprise to enlighten their everyday routine, meals prepared with love by his mother, happy family gatherings, holiday and Christmas celebrations. This perfection suddenly broke into pieces. Dave’s happiness and feeling of security shattered and his life was out of nowhere the life of a person living in misery and constant fear. There are indications in the story that Dave’s parents had a love to drinking. There are also hints that fights between them rocked occasionally the peace and calmness of their relationship as a couple. But the question remains: How could these instances which are part of a majority of married couples with children turn into the state of maltreatment being established as the permanent lifestyle of the family?
There are no families with no problems. But the problem is that lots of families seem lacking in the way to approach their problems. The most serious problem of all for a family is not to try to solve the problems which may occur. Substance addiction is the common shelter for lots of people who feel weak enough to deal with any kind of difficulties coming in their lives. It seems that Dave’s parents belonged to this kind of people. Having no internal power to unite their powers or even weaknesses and fight against their difficulties, they isolated, creating their own way of interpreting their life and getting out their oppressed energy and anger to drinking. One thing leads to another. So drinking brought total apathy to Dave’s father who all he wanted was to find ways to stay away from his family’s environment which left no air for him to breathe whereas Dave’s mother resorted in abusing one of her boys.
Besides the reasons leading to children’s abuse, there are some other points mentioned in the book indirectly, causing lots of thinking and trouble. The family’s environment either relatives, friends or neighbors seem to have played a totally pathetic role, leaving no space to themselves to see what was really happening behind their backs. So children’s abuse may be something taking place in front of our eyes and we, as a society may consciously or unconsciously, choose to keep our eyes wide shut. Lots of discussion is also generated as far as the limits and / or existing freedom of the authorities to interfere in cases of children’s abuse are concerned. It takes lots more than a school year for the teachers to familiarize themselves with their responsibility to call the police authorities and treat the matter with immediate action. Last but not least special attention ought to be given to the behavior of Dave’s schoolmates. It becomes evident once more that nowadays societies lack in educating people from an early age to respect and / or show sympathy towards other people’s problems. We, as readers witness cruelty and sarcasm on behalf of the children who push Dave away from them, leading him to adopting an even worse behavior. Dave adopts a behavior which, although it doesn’t express him, functions as a safety valve creating a self-defense system towards his classmates’ cruelty, irony and sarcasm. Finally there is one point asking for special reference, from my point of view. Dave’s maltreatment didn’t manage to destroy his life since nowadays that Dave has published this book, shares with his readers his balanced lifestyle. This is the main core of the whole book in my opinion resulting in becoming a main point of child abuse. It was Dave’s personal will to survive which helped him to save his soul from being a total wreck after all this abuse he experienced. So even in the worst scenario of somebody’s life, there is always light at the end of the tunnel, as long as there is strong will for survival.
Who and when could have stopped Dave’s abuse? Thoughts on the reasons of their failure and personal reactions towards it
While reading Dave’s testimony on what he experienced during his abused childhood the readers come face to the face with the increasingly intense question: Why didn’t anyone try to stop it earlier?
The first person to be expected to act in favor of Dave’s being saved from his tortures is his father. Dave’s father is a man totally lost in his weakness. His behavior and attitude was beyond any shadow of a doubt inexplicable to Dave who waited in vain for his idol, his father, being the grown up man of the family to take the situation in his hands and get control of what was going on behind his home’s door. But to Dave’s great disappointment his father drowned in his getting stuck to drinking and hiding behind his extreme hours of working. Dave’s father reminds the readers of a man who suffers his own personal identity crisis. In spite of showing that he holds equal responsibility in the bringing up of his children, he accepts at no objection his being left aside by his wife overtaking the role both of a mother and a father. He follows the patterns imposed by his wife as far as the family’s function is concerned without expressing freely his own opinions. His reluctance, hesitance and potential fear of his wife’s reactions and their quarrels are evident since there is only one instance in which he expresses his difference in Dave’s treatment. Only when his wife is away does he dare to show some affection towards his son Dave. The only feeling experienced on my behalf towards Dave’s father is sorrow. There seems to be no room for anything else. I was left with an indirect impression that this person’s character was too weak to cope with the problem of his family. So he chose his only way of escape. He left. An idea keeps going in and out of my mind. How can a person know how able he / she is to become a responsible parent? What help could there be in terms of parents’ groups, counselling or anything relevant which could help people to take on the responsibilities of their roles without feeling incompetent? To what extent can a parson’s negligence be condemned if this person has never had the education to lead his personality’s evolution to maturity? I am not sure I know the answer. But I do know that a society’s responsibility to provide individuals with this kind of education which can foremost teach them how to ask for help when needed, does exist and ought to be fulfilled.
It is this thought that makes me unable to accept the school’s reaction towards Dave’s situation. Although some of his teachers had started suspecting that something went wrong in Dave’s family it was at the 12th year of his age that immediate action was taken due to the principal’s decision to call the police. Could this be an indication of the extent to which people despite their official role and responsibility are afraid of interfering in the solution of problematic situations? Could that be a criteria upon which we can measure our society’s incapability of treating social problems with the necessary maturity?
Following these above mentioned questions, here comes a second more serious question troubling any conscious individual wishing to be an active member of his society. What would I do if I found myself in a similar position? Not the one of being abused but the other, the one of witnessing an abuse. Would I find the courage to confront the problem and ask from all parties (school authorities, police, friends and family) their help and contribution? Would I feel too tired to get involved in a whole series of bureaucratic actions in order to prove my being right? Society’s functions, institutions, organizations, they all seem to be suffering from great dysfunction creating a vicious circle when it comes to dealing with serious social problems. The worst of all is that the impact on society’s members is their being isolated and staying away from helping, conquered by feelings of despair and vanity.
Changes on my way of thinking about child abuse/neglect
I have always heard stories of child abuse and there have been so many times when newspaper articles or bulletins or family magazines have included articles on child abuse. But this has been my first time becoming so deeply aware of all the aspects involved in this social issue of such high importance. The one thing I can now say that I know for sure is that child abuse is an incident affecting deeply not only the family or small group within which it takes place but the society as a whole. It is therefore my strong belief that we all should make whatever possible so that awareness of this issue’s nature, dangers and affects is achieved. I have always felt that child abuse is terrible and inhuman. The difference my reading this book caused is the sense of my own responsibility to work for dealing with it effectively.
Impact on my professional responses to children and families with similar issues
My personal reaction is the core of my professional one as well. No professional profile or behavior can remain unaffected as far as beliefs concerning matters which are milestones of human existence are concerned. Children and families suffering from or dealing with similar issues ought to be treated with high awareness and immediate action on my behalf.
Comparison between ‘A Child called ‘It’ ’ and a scholarly article
Reading this book led me to my searching scholarly articles of relevant context in an effort to see what research has been conducted in the field of child abuse. Among the numerous articles which I found, most of them of equal value in terms of their findings, I read in detail the one I am presenting you with in this essay in comparison to the book. It is an article by Danya Glaser emphasizing on the conceptual framework of psychological maltreatment, which according to the article is a form of child abuse. The terrifying aspect of the article’s information lies in the fact that indeed there is lots of difficulty in recognizing child abuse when no physical violence exists. In the book Dave was, in his bad luck, found lucky since there were evident indications of his being abused. But the article analyses an even more serious aspect of child abuse. What happens and what measures can be taken in order to prevent child abuse when it emphasizes simply on the emotional and psychological maltreatment?
Conclusion
The book ‘A Child called ‘It’ ’ became the reason for becoming fully aware of the dangers lying in child abuse and becoming conscious of our society’s responsibility to treat this issue with high priority. Lots of research has been already conducted but there is still a long way to walk if our societies want to keep their civilized nature.
References
Emotional abuse and neglect (psychological maltreatment): a conceptual framework, Danya Glaser, ‘Child Abuse and Neglect, The International Journal’, Volume 26, Issues 6-7, June 2002, Pages 697-714

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