Posted by: mellow33 | February 1, 2011

Pride of a Bully

 These days, it is not rare to hear about young children choosing to die rather than to live on, because of the bullies they need to endure at school. As a teenager who used to suffer from the daily “tortures” at primary school, I was always interested in this issue and had a desire to take part in somehow “abolishing” the whole matter. However, life is not so easy. Most of all, there is a simple and horrifying fact: you need to understand about the bullies’ typical psychological condition if you want to help the victims and them.

 In I’m the King of the Castle by Susan Hill, you are introduced to the disturbing character of 10 year old Hooper, one of the main characters. The whole tragedy begins from when Hooper and 11-year-old Kingshaw are forced to live together in a manor house which is a possession of Hooper’s father. As an offensive and pugnacious bully, he makes the life of Kingshaw miserable.

 Most of this novel consists of the descriptions of the bullying acts and the fear that Kingshaw feels over them. For example, Hooper plays with a toy that Kingshaw had made and claims it to be his because the materials used to make it belong to “his” manor house. Hooper’s such impertinent and possessive attitude roots from how young he is, so the readers can almost sympathize with him, as they remember their own childish brutality. As a well known horror writer, the author scares the readers by making them sympathize with the “villain” in the story.

 One of the most terrible words that Hooper uses towards Kingshaw is “scardy-baby”. When Kingshaw becomes nervous of the gruesome appearance of the manor house, or when he is chased by a crow, he simply laughs at him and breaks his pride. I am sure anyone had done such cruel acts when they were younger. Since powerless children are eager for a sense of superiority towards others, it is easy for them to mock others to feel good about themselves. The author cunningly guides the readers to the realization that anyone can become the abusers. Anyone has a potential to bully, just for their pride.

 Although this is a work of fiction, every emotion that Hooper and Kingshaw experience was very realistic, and it gave me a great opportunity to think about the true roots of bullying once again. I know bullies are not “monsters” and they are normal human beings. However, after finishing this book, I felt helpless and depressed, because I knew that I had to fight against my own cruelty if I truly want to help.

 This novel is sometimes criticized as a “very disturbing story”. After reading it, I had to agree with the opinion. Take care; you need to prepare yourself if you are willing to read it!



  1. This book seemed very interesting to me. I have read books about people being bullied, but never stories where the focus is on the bully.
    I was very curious about how you said that this book can be explained as a “very disturbing story”. Feeling sympathy towards the bully may be wrong, but I think what you said about how anyone can become the abuser is right, and something everybody should always remember.

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