How I Learned to Drive

Topics: Sexual abuse, Abuse, Victimisation Pages: 2 (603 words) Published: April 21, 2008
How I Learned to Drive was written by Paula Vogel. It is written in an autobiographical style, although it is never truly clear whether or not it is autobiographical in actuality. The story is about a woman (Lil’ Bit) in her 30’s looking back on her experience of being molested by an uncle (Uncle Peck) from the age of 11 through 18. The brilliance in Vogel’s writing is that despite the subject matter, Uncle Peck doesn’t come across as a “monster-like” figure. Instead he seems like a regular person—flawed but somewhat likeable. In “Sex Trials”, by Laurie Stone, How I Learned to Drive is discussed, along with another play. Stone talks about that fact that Lil’ Bit is without a father (or even a father-figure). It is noted that Lil’ Bit is also well-endowed and her early development sexualizes her in a way she is not comfortable with. The boys her age notice her for this and she now feels like outsider with her peers as well as her family. Because of this alienation, Lil’ Bit finds some comfort in the attention she is given by her uncle. There is also a sense of power from Lil’ Bit, as Uncle Peck allows her to make decisions about when and where the liaisons will take place. “Little Bit is interested in conveying how the relationship felt, not in accusing (“Sex Trials”, 34).” The play is given from her perspective, but does not paint Uncle Peck as a villain. It is clear she is getting something from him that she cannot receive anywhere else. Without a father, she does not know what attention from a father is, although she does realize that the attention from her uncle is inappropriate. She feels hurt by what has happened, but still sees something positive from her experience with her uncle. As Laurie Stone writes, “survivors of abuse don’t like thinking of themselves as defeated, and that’s one reason some spare predators from complete condemnation; another is accepting that no-one escapes childhood unscathed and that most experience is a mixture of...
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