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Brownies: A Bullying Essay

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Jennifer Nguyen

Dr. Winter Elliott

EH 101 Written Communication

1 February 2013

Brownies: A Bullying Essay

While a precise definition of bullying is hard to pin down, it is easy to recognize, taking various forms "from hitting, or kicking to threats, teasing, and taunting" (Martin, 28). Actions like these can cause damage to individuals like those in Troop 909, who appear in the short story called "Brownies" by ZZ Packer. In this short story, one of the main characters, Arnetta, is known for her prejudiced behavior and jealousy issues. She also manipulates Mrs. Margolin, the troop leader, and Mrs. Hedy, Octavia's mom into believing her antics. Arnetta's treatment towards others ultimately defines her as a bully, because of her manipulative actions and her selfish needs, but then transforms into a more understanding person after hurting the girls in Troop 909.

"Victims of the bully are often targeted because they are considered to be different" (Martin, 28). At the beginning of camp, the Brownie Troop encounter another troop called Troop 909, and Arnetta replies "Man, did you smell them? They smell like Chihuahuas. Wet Chihuahuas." (Packer, 503). Since she was raised in the south suburbs of Atlanta she does not see a lot of white people and so she also calls Troop 909 "invaders" (505). By Arnetta calling Troop 909 degrading comments, she builds up her self-confidence by thinking that she is better than them. Because of the fact that Arnetta was not like Brownie Troop 909 and does not have all the luxuries that Troop 909 might have gotten before, she is prejudiced against people who are not the same skin color as her; thus making her believe that being a bully to Troop 909 is okay. Her false accusations and manipulations triggered most of the girls besides Daphne and Laurel to hold feelings of prejudice towards the other Brownie Troop. Another example of Arnetta's manipulation was an incident where Arnetta called "a boy who was wearing impossibly high-ankled floodwater jeans, Caucasian" (504). By doing so, all the children at her school, prompted to tell anybody who ate to fast or to slow or even jumping out of a swing the wrong way, that they were "Caucasian". Her manipulative actions towards the boy lead to more kids believing that it is okay to be prejudiced. Not exactly how a Brownie girl should act, but that is how Arnetta came out to be in this story.

Bullying is not sexiest; both genders can be the bully or victim. "There is a pattern to their meanness. While girls generally mock others for their physical appearance, boys tend to make more sexually explicit comments" (Martin, 28). Arnetta heard a girl from Troop 909 call Daphne, "a Nigger" (Packer, 505). Arnetta replied in a vindictive tone "We can't let them get away....I say we teach them a lesson" (506). Although Daphne is a soft spoken individual, Arnetta pressured her into saying that it was true about what Troop 909 had said. The author leads the reader to believe that Arnetta went through an ordeal that has turned her vindictive, and wanting others to feel that pain that she has felt. This causes Arnetta to manipulate the others into doing what she wants them to do. Janice then came up with



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