“Carl Matt is a troubled teenager who is battling to cope without the normal support that we expect to have when we are his age.”
Carl Matt is a perplexed teenager who is struggling without the tender love and care most teenagers his age expect to have. It all started with his father who “took off in a hurry when Carl was three,” leaving a fuzzy and fading memory. In addition his mother Kerry would often “leave for a frantic holiday coming back a couple of days later looking ashamed and distraught.” Carl always took in her behaviour as being his fault and that she didn’t care for him, thinking he was mucking up her life. His appearance has affected him as he described himself “a box with legs and arms.” Clothes don’t fit him quite well with a “bulging stomach through lines of buttons that he habitually held his hands over.” Carl’s lack of father figure, loving mother and bulky appearance has caused him to doubt himself in turn affecting his self-esteem and ability to grow as a person.
Finally, we see a new Carl whom we know will survive.
Carl is transformed into a different person who is no longer the wallflower. This Carl will now persevere with life. Working with Skip has helped him grow and develop as a person because Skip along with his wife Joy has showed him love and done what no-one else has and given him a chance. As a result he has been able to stand up to his abusive aunt who he used to be terrified by and finally “he let it go, let it bubble up into his throat.” Furthermore he has learnt to fight back and to ignore the ridicule people give him. When Nathan speaks of how pathetic Carl is in front everyone he fights back “he knew he was inviting trouble but he didn’t care.” In addition when working on the barge one day he was being harassed from the opposition “fat mongrel. You’re sweating like a pig,” but her ignored them. These moments and event cause Carl to become a better person as he has finally found his voice and learns to fight back...
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