Students' Reactions To Charlie Decker

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Neesy

#1 fan (Annie Wilkes cousin) 1st cousin Mom's side
May 24, 2012
56,651
206,805
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
#22
Congrats on your son's graduation, Neesy! Mine is having some trouble too. Still being tested. I think they want him on meds so he will relax a bit. Speech Delay is the only diagnosis so far.

I'm still not sure how I feel about the book. I can see how the copycat thing might've happened. It's like The Breakfast Club meets Quentin Tarantino. I LOVE Quentin Tarantino and I enjoyed the book. I was expecting more explanation for what set off Charlie, but I was left thinking that maybe some people are born this way... like Natural Born Killers. :)

Today he would have been diagnosed with some sort of social anxiety disorder and given drugs.

I get that Ted was being a judgmental pr*ck when everyone was trying to let their guard down and be authentic with each other. That nobody liked Ted because he had to put on a show to prove to everyone how great he was, and most everyone knew it was a lie. I've met people like that. I felt really bad for him. I think if he could have turned that side of himself off and connected with his peers, he would have.

I definitely get how the class got swept up in a mob mentality. Being held captive, even by their own piqued interest, with a dead person will mess with a person, and I suppose small town kids must've found it pretty intense, especially in a time when these things just didn't happen.
Thanks - he is 29 now but still has not taken any courses yet on what he would like to do - working with cars. Hopefully we can get him into an auto body repair course as currently he just does manual labour - working in a plant type setting doing repetitive work. He does not mind it, but it is not something he wants to do the rest of his life!

Back to the thread topic - I have yet to read Rage - I bought the Bachman Books mainly just to add to my collection.

One of these days I will pick it up and read it - it is just such a dark topic. Not currently in the mood for that type of book - feeling much more optimistic and upbeat these days!
 
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Aloysius Nell

Well-Known Member
Apr 1, 2014
306
995
46
#23
I think Rage is less about the violent aspect - that is just the setting - and more about the interpersonal dynamics present in every high school. There's a clear hierarchy; there are roles to play; there are social expectations; there's a sense of timelessness that we seem to forget when we leave that point in our lives. I think even adults in the environment (teachers, administrators) can't really understand these things.

To me, THAT is what this novel is really about. Charlie does what he does ; the kids react the way they react. That's not really what it's about. Bringing all the hidden parts of their lives out to be seen and discussed? THAT'S the meat of it.

And I don't think a 40-, 50-, or 60-year-old King could have written it.
 

Neesy

#1 fan (Annie Wilkes cousin) 1st cousin Mom's side
May 24, 2012
56,651
206,805
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
#24
I think Rage is less about the violent aspect - that is just the setting - and more about the interpersonal dynamics present in every high school. There's a clear hierarchy; there are roles to play; there are social expectations; there's a sense of timelessness that we seem to forget when we leave that point in our lives. I think even adults in the environment (teachers, administrators) can't really understand these things.

To me, THAT is what this novel is really about. Charlie does what he does ; the kids react the way they react. That's not really what it's about. Bringing all the hidden parts of their lives out to be seen and discussed? THAT'S the meat of it.

And I don't think a 40-, 50-, or 60-year-old King could have written it.
He did work as an English teacher at a high school so it must have been fresh in his mind (and like you said - he was much younger then).
:m_yesss:
 
Likes: GNTLGNT
Oct 13, 2015
745
5,704
35
Rhode Island
#25
I feel a bit sheepish, almost, saying that I really enjoyed this book, as I was a sophomore in high school when the Columbine incident occurred, and so am of the generation that is super sensitive when it comes to things like this. I found a really crappy-quality narration on YouTube that I listened to at work most of yesterday, and the guy read it in a sort of detached, upbeat tone, which I think made all the difference. I'm wondering if I would have liked it as much if I had just read it. I found Charlie's character to be charming from the beginning. Lots of hilarious bits thrown in amongst the drama, as always. The reaction of the kids in the class didn't seem so unnatural to me at all. At that age, the mind is a bit more accepting to weird circumstances. I enjoyed the fact that most of the plot was not an intense murder spree, but rather a calm discussion among classmates who were really seeing and hearing each other for the first time. Very Lord of the Flies meets The Breakfast Club and Dog Day Afternoon.
 

Kingunlucky

Well-Known Member
Aug 20, 2016
368
1,671
#26
I'll say the students' reactions were unrealistic, and I don't think it was intentional. Rage isn't very good. No big deal, though. King was young - really young when he wrote it, and on top of being a teenager school shootings weren't nearly as much of a hot topic back then for him to have real honest to God knowledge or forethought about how students would react.

I think you'd be very hard pressed to find a scenario like Rage in real life. I don't think it should have been taken out of print, but it isn't surprising so many shooters tend to empathize with Decker. He's a squirmy, arrogant, self-absorbed, isolated, and resentful fellow. The issue comes with how he sort of makes fools of everyone - even people in authority. The guys who tried to recreate Rage or similar incidents didn't go through a sort of transformative phase. They were terrified.

I understand what King was going for but the set up doesn't lend itself well to the theme/goal.

Just my two cents.
 
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