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Gifted and Talented Literature Study

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Evaluative Essay

By Daniel Pacheco

Gifted and Talented Literature Study

Mr. Zimmer

Sucker by Carson McCullers

  • Is the trouble between the boys Pete’s fault? Why or why not?

I think that the trouble between the two boys is Pete’s fault, but not completely just his. At the beginning, it shows Sucker as someone who admires him and listens to him. Pete just took advantage of this by always tricking and lying to him.  The only reason he’s called Sucker in the first place is because of Pete tricking him. The book says “Sucker used to always remember and believe every word I said. That’s how he got his nickname.” It is also revealed that Sucker’s real name is Richard in page 22 of the story.

Think about what happens from Sucker’s point of view. He admired Pete for a long time, possibly most of his life. Then Pete starts to pay more attention to him, hanging out with him and being nicer to him. This would make Sucker happy, maybe giving him more confidence as time goes on. Then everything stops, because of Pete having heard Maybelle say what she said. This would definitely hurt Pete, since he seems to admire Maybelle.

So now Pete is in a terrible mood, having been dumped by Maybelle. He gets angry, maybe even a little stressed. He has nobody and nowhere to unleash this anger at so he keeps it, has it pent up and still growing. One night, Sucker asks him about this saying “Why is it we aren’t buddies like we were before?”(pg.20). Pete had started to feel angry about what he was feeling and doing, even starts contemplating how ‘horribly’ his life has been going and thinking of a miserable future for himself. Sucker asking this question about what was going on recently made Pete snap. All his pent up anger comes out, all the feelings he was feeling unleashed all at once. When this happens he seems calm to the world outside, while on the inside he’s in a blind rage.

Even the book seems to admit this, saying “my voice was clear and calm.”(pg.20) and “It was like something had busted inside me.”(pg.21). He insults Sucker and his choices saying “you’re the dumbest slob I ever saw.” (pg.20), and “Why do you always hang around me? Don’t you know when you’re not wanted?” (pg.20) among other things. Hearing this Sucker changes mentally, physically, and emotionally. He becomes tougher than he was before.

Now, I’m not saying this all happened only because of Pete. Remember what I said at the beginning ‘Pete’s fault, but not completely his’. There’s also the way they were raised, the time period they were raised in, and the way Sucker acted. In the story, it seems as though the rest of the family don’t do much, character development wise. The parent(s) apparently mostly ignore Pete and Sucker, as stated in the story “My mother never bothered me because she had the younger kids to look after”. There isn’t even a mention of a Father. You would think that a mother would ask her oldest for help taking care of the smaller children, especially if there were enough of them for her to mostly ignore her oldest in the first place.

This book seems to be set in the 1900’s because of the words used. For example, you don’t see many teens using the word rap as an insult these days, excluding ‘rap battles’. Especially since rap apparently also means “A lay or skein containing 120 yards of yarn”. There’s also the fact that Pete was reading Popular Mechanics (on pg.19), which was first published in 1902.Not that the date it was published matters much, as he could have been reading it at any time since it is still operating to this day.

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