The Rules of Survival

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Michaela Gyure
Advanced English
Mrs. Thompson
Due: 10/7/11
The Rules of Survival
When you live with a schizophrenic, you have to grow up fast. You don’t have time to spend on things that normal kids do, such as playing video games, or going on dates. Matthew knew this all too well in the book The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin. The main character, Matthew Walsh, is the oldest of three children, and the protector of his younger sisters Callie and Emmy. In the beginning, he tolerates his mother Nikki’s behavior because he thinks there is no one willing to step in and help him. Matt studies hard, works out at the gym where he works, and eventually manages to find help to save himself and his sisters from their train wreck of a mother. Callie Walsh, Matt’s younger sister by two years, also plays a key role in the story. While trying hard to be a regular kid with sky-high dreams of becoming a doctor, having to deal with a violent schizophrenic definitely doesn’t make her life any easier. Instead of having the opportunity to have sleepovers and go to movies, Callie is forced to be a protector of her little sister. One case of such a young person having to grow up so fast was when “Callie grabbed you (Emmy) and scurried out of the doorway.” (pg. 151) as Nikki was raging at Matt. Nikki is also an instrumental part of the plot, as she is the antagonist throughout the story. An often paranoid and violent schizophrenic, Nikki is usually very emotional towards her children. This is both a blessing and a curse throughout, as it implies that she remembers to feed her children, yet it often causes her to yearn for gratification and praise from the children that cannot stand to be in her presence. She often manages to grow close to people, only to push them away when her illness is revealed to them. This angers her and causes her to have harmful outbursts, often carried out on her children.

The major ideas and events in The Rules of Survival numbered...
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