"Without a word, we stood watching the fireball-like sun as it sank behind the tall trees, leaving bright blue and orange streaks in the sky" (Chapter 2, pg. 20)
At the very end of Chapter 2, in which Dave remembers the good times before his abuse, the family watches a beautiful sunset. He describes it with detailed language, showing how strong the memory is. In this moment, the sun was setting on the good times, and the next morning signal the start of an era of abuse, from which Dave would only break free much later.
"Gripping my arm, Mother held it in the orange-blue flame. My skin seemed to explode from the heat. I could smell the scorched hairs from my burnt arm" (Chapter 3, pg. 28)
Pelzer describes the moment his mother holds his arm over the flaming stove in great detail, allowing readers to feel his intense pain and fear. The intensity with which he describes this scene, even years and years later, shows how much it was imprinted in his mind because of how terrible it was.
"Under the water I opened my eyes. I could see bubbles escape from my mouth and float to the surface as I tried to shout" (Chapter 6, pg. 66)
Throughout the memoir, all of Dave's punishments are described in intense detail, so that readers can picture the terror of the situation and see how badly his mother really treated him. This imagery is important, because the book is meant to make a statement about child abuse, and the statement would not be as powerful if Pelzer tried to water down his experiences.
"The sun is making its final descent. The magic is about to begin. The skies are ready to burn with brilliance, as it turns from a soft blue to a bright orange" (Epilogue, pg. 91)
This image of a sunset parallels the sunset Dave described at the end of Chapter 2. This shows that Dave has come full-circle, and the flaming colors he sees in the sky become symbolic of better days. Just like the sunset on the good times before, now the sun is setting on the bad times, and Dave is able to start anew.
A Child Called “It” Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for A Child Called “It” is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Although he cared about his son, Dave's father allowed seemed unable to stand up to his wife. He was weak and ineffective as a parent and an individual. He would rather just leave for long stretches of time than deal with the pain his son was...