Bulling has become a bigger and bigger problem and there is not much to do about it, especially when you know you are the next in line for being bullied. What would you do for not ending there? This short story, Celia Behind Me, deals with the problems of the youth. What it’s like trying to be accepted by your friends and classmates. How there is one to be teased. And how innocent-looking children sometimes act desperately towards a person standing in their way of being accepted into the best clique of the school.
Also discussed in this story, is the parent’s role in the upbringing of child. How should parents react, when being told that their child has done something completely wrong? The short story is written in the 1st person seen from Elizabeth’s point of view with access to her thoughts and feelings.
Elizabeth is the only one that we have access to. The story is written in the past tense as if Elizabeth has grown up and is telling a story from her childhood.
The story is written in a chronological line with no flashbacks. We are starting with a small presentation of Celia and how Elizabeth and the other girls feel about her. We are getting strong feelings of dislike of her and that she is an annoying girl who always running behind the others. The themes in the short story are being the next in line and group pressure. In the text, it is Elizabeth that is the next in line to be bullied, and if she doesn’t harass Celia then she will be the victim.
Elizabeth is afraid of being left behind What if they always ran ahead and left us to walk together? and she knows that she is the next obvious victim of the others harassment. Elizabeth is also a bit chubby and wears classes, so if Celia ever stops being the victim – they would go after her. So Elizabeth does everything to keep up with the others.
Elizabeth is the one who teases Celia the most just to show the others that she doesn’t like her at all. Elizabeth behaves the way she does because she always has to remind the others that she is a part of their group. She is pressured by the group to do what they want her to do, or she will be the one who will be harassed. Some symbols are used in the title. In the story we are told that Celia is running behind the girls on the way home, always a step behind and not accepted. And when Elizabeth is telling the others to stop throwing snowballs at Celia she is misunderstanding for kindness and is trailing after her even more. But the title could also imply that Celia is behind Elizabeth as if she is “having her back”. Celia is the only reason that Elizabeth isn’t the one who is being harassed and if Celia was a “normal” girl Elizabeth would be the victim.
This story is about many aspects of puberty, problems at school, problems with parents, problems with acceptance. It’s so important for a young kid to be accepted by the people surrounding you. When you see a child constantly being teased, it’s hard not to feel compassion with him/her. Some feel that they have to try to protect this person from being teased. It’s quite obvious in this story, where Elizabeth has an ambiguous mind. In one way she feels obliged to protect Celia, but she also feels this hatred towards her, because she’s always just behind her. She can’t get rid of her. Elizabeth feels split between her own thoughts and the thoughts her parents try to put into her head. In the end of the story Elizabeth is so mad and frustrated by Celia and about how the others are running ahead when she is brushing the snow off her schoolbag.
And again Elizabeth is left back with Celia who starts crying and is getting scared. All the other girls are standing on the bridge calling her “Sucky” and shouting that she has to take care of Celia. Elizabeth gets so angry that she starts yelling all kinds of bad things at Celia and she even starts shaking Celia and banging her head against the cold metal in the tunnel. Elizabeth’s parents are clearly in favour of physical punishment and they both spank Elizabeth to punish her, but also to get out with their aggression about the terrible event that their daughter has made.
The mother also says “I’ll never be able to lift my head on this street again!” (P.5, l.159) It is clear that the mother thinks a lot about what all the others on the street will now think and it is clear that she is very shocked. And it seems like they are more upset about what happened than they will find out why it happened. At the of the story end Celia dies. Elizabeth has never forgiven Celia for making her a victim of the classmates’ victimization. Elizabeth was seen together with Celia and because of that the classmates start bullying her again.