Horrific Experience in A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer Essay




The LitCharts.com logo.
LitCharts
A Child Called It



The LitCharts.com logo.
LitCharts

A Child Called It

Dave Pelzer



Pdf fanDownload this Lit Guide! (PDF)



David Pelzer / Dave

Character Analysis




Dave Pelzer, the protagonist and narrator of A Child Called “It”, is a survivor of child abuse. For years as a child, his Mother beats him, burns him, and subjects him to dozens of other cruelties. During his years in Mother’s house, Pelzer goes through psychological trauma in addition to his physical abuse. He begins to hate himself, to resent his brothers for avoiding any abuse, and to question whether his life is even worth living. However, Dave escapes Mother in 1973 when his school nurse, along with a handful of teachers, decides to alert the police to Dave’s condition. The police, recognizing that Dave’s parents must be abusing him regularly, take Dave away from his home for good. Throughout his time living with Mother, and for the rest of his life, Dave preserves his courage and dignity, promising himself that he’ll never give Mother the satisfaction of begging for mercy. Dave’s life’s story, while harrowing and frequently horrific, is ultimately optimistic. As an adult he has a child of his own, who he claims to treat with nothing but love and compassion. In this way, he breaks free from the vicious cycle of child abuse, and finds ways of coping with his trauma without denying or ignoring his past.

David Pelzer / Dave Quotes in A Child Called It

The A Child Called It quotes below are all either spoken by David Pelzer / Dave or refer to David Pelzer / Dave. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:


Child Abuse Theme Icon

).

Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Health Communications edition of A Child Called It published in 1995.



Chapter 1
Quotes

After I count her steps, making sure she’s gone, I breathe a sigh of relief. The act worked. Mother can beat me all she wants, but I haven’t let her take away my will to somehow survive.

Related Characters:

David Pelzer / Dave (speaker), Mother / Mom / Catherine Roerva Pelzer

‘ data-html=’true’ data-placement=’auto bottom’ data-toggle=’popover’ data-trigger=’hover’ href=’/lit/a-child-called-it/themes/resistance’>


Resistance Theme Icon

Page Number and Citation:

4
Explanation and Analysis:

Quotes explanation long mobile

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other A Child Called It quote.

Plus so much more…


Get LitCharts A+

Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in !

The police officer and I walk outside, past the cafeteria. I can see some of the kids from my class playing dodge ball. A few of them stop playing. They yell, “David’s busted! David’s busted!”

Related Characters:

David Pelzer / Dave (speaker)

‘ data-html=’true’ data-placement=’auto bottom’ data-toggle=’popover’ data-trigger=’hover’ href=’/lit/a-child-called-it/themes/resistance’>


Resistance Theme Icon

Page Number and Citation:

12
Explanation and Analysis:

Quotes explanation short mobile


Unlock with LitCharts A+



Chapter 2
Quotes

From above, I felt someone hug my shoulders, I thought it was my father. I turned and became flushed with pride to find Mom holding me tightly. I could feel her heart beat. I never felt as safe and as warm as that moment in time, at the Russian River.

Related Characters:

David Pelzer / Dave (speaker), Mother / Mom / Catherine Roerva Pelzer

Page Number and Citation:

26
Explanation and Analysis:

Quotes explanation short mobile


Unlock with LitCharts A+



Chapter 3
Quotes

Mother would simply grab me and smash my face against the mirror, smearing my tear-streaked face on the slick, reflective glass. Then she would order me to say over and over again, “I’m a bad boy! I’m a bad boy! I’m a bad boy!”

Related Characters:

David Pelzer / Dave (speaker), Mother / Mom / Catherine Roerva Pelzer

‘ data-html=’true’ data-placement=’auto bottom’ data-toggle=’popover’ data-trigger=’hover’ href=’/lit/a-child-called-it/themes/psychological-trauma’>


Psychological Trauma Theme Icon

Page Number and Citation:

30-31
Explanation and Analysis:

Quotes explanation short mobile


Unlock with LitCharts A+

While I was cleaning the bathroom, I overheard an argument between Mother and Father. She was angry with him for “going behind her back” to buy me the paintings. Mother told Father that she was in charge of disciplining “the boy” and that he had undermined her authority by buying the gifts. The longer Father argued his case, the angrier she became. I could tell he had lost, and that I was becoming more and more isolated.

Related Characters:

David Pelzer / Dave (speaker), Mother / Mom / Catherine Roerva Pelzer , Stephen Joseph Pelzer / Father

Page Number and Citation:

39
Explanation and Analysis:

Quotes explanation short mobile


Unlock with LitCharts A+

Standing alone in that damp, dark garage, I knew, for the first time, that I could survive. I decided that I would use any tactic I could think of to defeat Mother or to delay her from her grizzly obsession. I knew if I wanted to live, I would have to think ahead. I could no longer cry like a helpless baby. In order to survive, I could never give in to her. That day I vowed to myself that I would never, ever again give that bitch the satisfaction of hearing me beg her to stop beating me.

Related Characters:

David Pelzer / Dave (speaker), Mother / Mom / Catherine Roerva Pelzer

Page Number and Citation:

43
Explanation and Analysis:

Quotes explanation short mobile


Unlock with LitCharts A+



Chapter 4
Quotes

When I returned from school the next afternoon, Mother smiled as if she had won a million-dollar sweepstakes. She told me how she had dressed up to see the principal, with her infant son Russell in her arms. Mother told me how she had explained to the principal how David had an overactive imagination. Mother told him how David had often struck and scratched himself to get attention, since the recent birth of his new brother, Russell. I could imagine her turning on her snake-like charm as she cuddled Russell for the benefit of the principal.

Related Characters:

David Pelzer / Dave (speaker), Mother / Mom / Catherine Roerva Pelzer , Russell Pelzer

‘ data-html=’true’ data-placement=’auto bottom’ data-toggle=’popover’ data-trigger=’hover’ href=’/lit/a-child-called-it/themes/neglect-and-the-normalization-of-evil’>


Neglect and the Normalization of Evil Theme Icon

Page Number and Citation:

53
Explanation and Analysis:

Quotes explanation short mobile


Unlock with LitCharts A+

Sometimes at the grocery store, if I felt things weren’t just right, I didn’t steal anything. As always, I finally got caught. The manager called Mother. At the house, I was thrashed relentlessly. Mother knew why I stole food and so did Dad, but she still refused to feed me. The more I craved food, the more I tried to come up with a better plan to steal it.

Related Characters:

David Pelzer / Dave (speaker), Mother / Mom / Catherine Roerva Pelzer , Stephen Joseph Pelzer / Father

‘ data-html=’true’ data-placement=’auto bottom’ data-toggle=’popover’ data-trigger=’hover’ href=’/lit/a-child-called-it/themes/neglect-and-the-normalization-of-evil’>


Neglect and the Normalization of Evil Theme Icon

Page Number and Citation:

62
Explanation and Analysis:

Quotes explanation short mobile


Unlock with LitCharts A+