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Written by Callie Labrador
Abuse and Injustice to Victims
The principle theme of the novel is child abuse; the main character, Meredith, is a victim of her own father's sexual abuse and was initially promised the remainder of her childhood safe from him, his prison sentence being long enough to enable her to reach her eighteenth birthday and leave home; however, understanding what he needed to do in order to earn early release, here father pretended remorse and was released whilst Meredith was still too you g to leave. Although restrictions are placed on him there is no way of enforcing them, leaving the victim powerless and giving all of the power back to the abuser. The theme throughout the novel is that of the victim being victimized over and over again and of the cycle of abuse being perpetuated with child abusers managing to act with impunity.
Paralysis in the novel is shown literally and metaphorically. Andy is physically paralyzed as a result of the mental trauma of his molestation and regains use of his legs after his abuser is arrested again. Charles is paralyzed when Meredith overcomes her own paralyzing fear and fights back, which in some ways also paralyzed her mother as she is now as tied to Charles' wheelchair as he is. Throughout the book Meredith refers to her own feelings of paralysis whenever she is near her father; she wants to run from him but her knees lock and she is unable to move; she also feels that her brain is paralyzed by fear in his presence which makes her once again a victim of his power. The fact that at the end of the book both Andy and Meredith are free from their physical paralysis because Meredith found a way to overcome her mental paralysis is the new beginning that both characters need; whilst their paralysis was directly caused by Charles' abuse, Charles also causes his own quadriplegia by attempting to molest Meredith, resulting in her attacking him.
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