In "Admiral of the Swiss Navy" written by Sam Lipsyte, there is a narrator who is the kind of boy many of us have known at one time in our life. He is confused, arrogant, showy, put in situations where he must decide what the right thing to do is, and always worried about what the other kids think of him. He is attending a summer camp near a lake in Canada and rooms with an unpopular obese kid named Van Wort. Yes, Van Wort, you can only guess that a boy with this name gets besieged by the other camp boys. The narrator finds himself involved in some of these acts of violence towards Van Wort. The narrator then reaches into his conscience and finds himself in a moral quandary, and decides to start helping Van Wort a little at a time, but is too late. Van Wort felt instigated by those who tortured him, to finally end the pain he suffered and to kill himself in front of all the other kids at camp. The narrator gets involved in some situations that make him look like a bad kid, but the narrator is a good character in this story from what he learns at camp.
Our first impression that we get from the narrator is "I gave him [the camp director, Mr. Marv] the names of boys you've never heard of but who were known saboteurs of good camp citizenship." The narrator is looking out for himself and only himself, saving himself from getting in trouble is his first priority, even if it means betraying others. In the night, the narrator would watch the other camp boys come in and torture Van Wort; the narrator would mostly watch but sometimes include himself in these abhorrent acts against Van Wort. The narrator notices that all these acts of cruelty really affect Van Wort, but he still continues to do as he has done in the past; nothing. His reputation would be on the line if he stood up for Van Wort. "I was, if you will, the boxball king. Maybe it's not crucial to the story of Van Wort, but I think people should know." A little vain maybe? I think so. It's a hard thing to...
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