Andrea Gibson’s’ poem ‘Letter to the Playground Bully’ is an unforgettable poem about bullying. She cleverly crafts a poem from the perspective of an 8 and a half year old girl who is trying to confront the playground bully through a letter. The poem’s sole purpose is to expose the hardships and reality for victims of bullying. She achieves this by making the speaker a younger version of herself. She wrote this poem in order to perform in front of high school and elementary school students to try and stop bullying. Gibson explores unfamiliar territory related to bullying in a straightforward, sweet, yet different approach.
Andrea Gibson has been on the receiving end and on the ...view middle of the document...
She switches tactics often from passive blows to direct accusations concerning the bully’s behavior towards her “but you absolutely missed when you told the class I have head lice” (Gibson, Poems 8). She wins the hearts of the audience through the forgiving nature of the speaker but also through her naivety. Victims of bullying are seen as the dredges of society, they are viewed as deserving of their torture and considered to be invalids. Bullying is rarely seen as what it actually is, the alpha group/student ganging up on people who are different or weaker. Gibson destroys all the stereotypes and exposes the harsh reality of it all, that the victims are people who are not in control of the outcome of the situation. She also makes the audience realize that no one deserves this treatment by making the victim relatable. Gibson displays the victim as the helpless lovable child that they are while kindling emotions of sorrow, anger and compassion from the audience through the melancholy low points of the poem.
A guest speaker once said that in order to be an inspirational person you need to be able to do the right thing, think of others and see things through a new perspective. Andrea Gibson has fulfilled all these requirements by expounding a powerful argument through her fluent and effortless weaving of her personal memories of bullying with a bittersweet moral, despite its painful reminder of what she had endured:
“or telling me I dress like a boy
Because maybe I am a boy and a girl
Maybe my name is Andrea Andrews.” (Gibson, Poems 57-59)
Gibson also describes a gay bashing incident that occurred to her when she was younger,
“‘cause my mother says a person can only swallow so much punch
before he’s drunk on his own fist
but the only drunk I ever knew
was sleeping in the alley behind our church”. (Gibson, Poems 48-51)
She’s inferring that she not was inebriated, but physically abused in a gay bashing incident. The speaker is also constantly quoting their mother’s advice reminding how victims often have no one but their parents to turn to. She shows the loneliness of the speaker by emphasizing that all the speaker wants is a friend and even mentions the real goal of writing to the playground bully, “so maybe sometime you could sit beside me on the bus” (Gibson, Poems 72). Gibson personifies the speaker by adding realistic and valid emotions that bullying victims feel in these situations. Through the usage of real emotions and events she makes the transitions from every point she makes smooth and understandable.
Gibson makes a strong argument about the causes of bullying and why bullies should not hide behind it.
“and I know every belt that has hit someone’s back
is still a belt that was built to hold something up.” (Gibson, Poems 78-79)
The speaker is trying to sympathize with the bully’s past of child abuse while trying to explain to them that they don’t need to abuse others too. They can use their past...