This chapter was very intriguing and I really liked it as several significant ideas are explored. Although there was no real solution to bullying put forward by the author, which I don’t blame him because if it was such a simple issue, it would not be worth exploring.
"It’s not bullying! P-… Piss off…"
He didn’t want to accept the fact that he was being bullied.
… He knew he was being bullied, but he refused to admit it.
She understood thathe didn’t really mean what he had said.
But he helping hand she extended was unable to reach.
Yukari couldn’t lend a hand, unless Masaaki was willing to take it.
It’s amazing that the author considered the issue of the pride of the bullied. I don’t think anyone wants to acknowledge that they are or have been bullied (or that they fit the definition of a ‘weeb’ or never had a girlfriend etc). The reason is probably because the terms used are derogatory and is a label, which superficially captures what they may be in a stereotypical way. By using those labels (“I am being bullied”) with all its negative connotations and stereotypical image, your own self-worth is reduced. By distinguishing it or refusing to acknowledge the reality of the situation, you are able to ‘think’ that the bullies didn’t actually truthfully hurted you. Further, no one wants to be openly ‘sympathised’ because in truth (unless you have an ulteriror motive of course), the sympathiser is really in a superiror position at those moments, while the person sympathised would have to accept that they are at a lower position (think of the hierarchical theme put forward in the Utopia chapter).
The idea that you can’t help someone who is not willing to take it also strikes home for me.
In this world there must always be retribution.
Punishment for those who are evil. And reward to those who are good.
… But the times have changed. Now there are villains known as bullies attending school,
and they run free, doing whatever they want, and enjoying their youth right up until they graduate with no punishment whatsoever.
Meanwhile, good-natured kids are thrown out into society still holding the trauma caused by those bullies.
This above quote is amazing. It captures exactly what I loathe about bullies. It’s probably partly jealousy. This quote is quite significant when you consider the quote below.
Everyone lowered their heads gloomily, trying to make themselves as unnoticeable as possible.
Just as Masaaki had once done himself.
On the other hand, Massaki’s life was like living on a bright sunny tropical island.
Every day was sunny and beautiful and happy.
Studying, exercising… he was good at everything.
Even the teachers loved him. Masaaki was living the ideal school life.
So, previously Masaaki, when he was bullied, he was constantly anxious about the actions of his bullies. Further, he had to entertain them when their bullies required him to do so under the pretense of ‘being friends’. Consequently, it is not surprising that he can’t focus on understanding the class materials, can’t find the motivation/confidence to exercise and do well in physical education, can’t find the leisure to make and maintain new friends. Now, however, being in a position of superirority, he has the leisure to do all the above things, which unsurprisingly results in an improvement in all those areas for him.
Therefore, there are great benefits to being a bully. Basically, there are many flow-on positive effects for it, but mainly confidence, which results in many other things. As the bully is reaping the benefits of bullying, the bullied is losing important things that should have the effect of making him/her succeeding/enjoying school life. Worst still, while in schooling, there are no effective penalty for bullying others unless the other person is stronger.
There was a point when Masaaki decides to bully indiscriminately (apart from Yukari). At first, I thought, his actions were no longer justifiable. But then after some reflection, I believe it is partly justifiable. Let us remember that there is active and passive bullying. Merely being a bystander and allowing bullying to happen is in my opinion, culpable, although less so than the actual bullies. That is why it should be the responsibility of the teacher to educate the students that being a bystander is culpable and should be punished. Though until this is taught, it’s difficult to blame the students on doing what is effectively self-protection…
There’s no one more bad-natured in this world than a perpetrator who refused to see himself as anything but a victim.
Being in a position of being able to use the label of ‘victim’ is sometimes very strong. It allows morally justifiable revenge/reparations. But we should always remember that Masaaki never chose to be bullied in the first place. Therefore, although he probably did over abuse his label of being a victim, I think I should emphasise he should have the right to use what he has after being forced into a position he did not want to be (being bullied).
… If any one of you bullies again, I will kill them.
… If you don’t want to be killed, live a modest life.
… I am the bully who devours other bullies… And I’m hungry… I really… really want to bully someone…
… So if you want to become my prey, show yourself now.
So, the proposed solution to bullying. Simply be stronger, have morals, and be prepared to use force.
Really, not too different from the law of the jungle… follow the morals of the person at the apex while they are in power.
Because, who would actually believe that these students would actually interneralise the morals of Yukari has to bullying when the basis of adherence comes from fear of her strength (the thistle probably gives physical/emotional strength)? Further, the reward from bullying is just too much to pass through when the deterrent is no longer there.