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”Buddy” by Nigel Hinton

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‘Buddy’, written by Nigel Hinton, tells the story of the eponymous Buddy, who we feel sympathy for throughout the book. The author manages to make us feel this way, by going in depth with the main character’s personal reflection. In this essay, my aim is to show how the author creates sympathy for the central character.

This novel opens with Buddy feeling guilty after his mother leaving home. He then lives in poor conditions with his unemployed, “Teddy Boy” father, whom Buddy finds embarrassing. With the loss of Buddy’s mum, money becomes a problem and his dad re-begins his life of theft. Buddy then becomes worried about his dad, and plots to have the man leading his father astray arrested, allowing his dad to start a normal, risk-free job. However, this plan backfires and Buddy’s dad ends up with an eighteen month sentence.

The first way we feel sympathy for Buddy is at the beginning at the book after he fells guilty for stealing. We find Buddy feeling disgusted with himself after stealing a £5 note from his mother’s purse for a school trip. It is clear that he is disappointed with himself after we read the metaphor “wave of disgust”. This may not be a big issue normally, but for Buddy’s family £5 is a lot due to financial difficulties, hence why he feels so very irritated with himself. Later, his mother would compare him to his father, as Buddy’s dad was once in jail due to theft. As well as this, we feel sympathy for Buddy, just as he leaves the house for school; he calls goodbye, yet receives no reply. Instead, he hears “another” row erupting between his parents. The simple sentence “Another row.” obviously implies that his parents have had arguments before.

As well as problems at home, Buddy has to cope with bullying at school from both pupils and teachers. At school, Buddy is in class 3E, E for Express, but is “Letting down the standards of the rest of the class” due to him having to wear jeans as a substitute to school trousers which need repaired by his mother, of whom Buddy hasn’t seen in months. Buddy also has a “stinking, white, plastic bag” to carry his books, rather than a satchel or a document case. Due to his scruffy appearance, Buddy’s classmates tease him by commenting on his clothes and bag, and often sing “My Old Man’s a Dustman” with slightly different lyrics, suited to Buddy’s state. This is another sympathetic point, as Buddy feels discriminated and upset; he wishes that his Dad would go get a job and earn some money. However, when Buddy’s dad does bring home money, Buddy buys new clothes and a bag, which, to an extent, puts an end to the teasing.

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