In “Drummer,” Guy Vanderhaeghe shows us how important the need for one's own principles really is. Setting place in the early 1950's, Vanderhaeghe shares a story through Billy's point of view, a small-town fifteen year old who starts to see the why principles are necessary throughout a series of events. These include: Billy standing up to his father after getting ridiculed for attending the “wrong” church; assessing his teacher, Ms. Clark's view on why one needs principles; and when he starts to reflect on how Nancy's principles dictate her decisions and how she reacts to the peer-pressure that Gene, his brother puts upon her. Vanderhaeghe shows us that the issues in such a small town are no different than the ones we face in society as a whole. He presents us with three characters that all show us the need for principles: Billy, Nancy, and Zipper. Principles are necessary because they give us something to believe in, and in turn, allow us to stand up for what we believe.
When one has their own principles, it often gives them something to believe in. The character that stands out the most is Zipper; the guy who everyone looks at as just another “screw up.” Although this may be what it looks like on the surface, when we look deeper we see that he himself has a strong set of principles which makes him extremely dedicated to what he believes in. Billy says, “I mean, look at Zipper. This guy is a not entirely normal human being,” (229) which show how negatively people view his differences. One thing that he truly believes in is his drumming; we see this when Vanderhaeghe writes, “You see, Zipper really thinks he's going to make himself somebody with those drums, he really does” (230). If it weren't for that, he would have given up on his goals, and who
knows what road that would take him down. Billy says, “A year ago he quits school to teach himself to be a drummer. That's all. He doesn't get a job or nothing, just sits and home and drums,” (229)...
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