Characterization - Celia behind me
“Celia behind me” is a Canadian short story published in 1984. Nine-year-old Elizabeth is the narrator and main character of the story. Elizabeth is a very insecure girl with a low self-esteem. She is afraid of being bullied and therefore she bullies Celia to protect herself and her reputation. In addition to that, she is aware of the real state of things because she knows that if it was not for Celia, she would be the next victim. This fear results in victimization in the school. Elizabeth doesn’t understand why her parents tell her to be nice to Celia. All she wants is to be accepted by the other children, which seems impossible with Celia. On the other hand, she needs to live up to the expectations from her parents. The expectations and the threats at home affect Elizabeth and her ability to socialize. “I did as my mother bid me, out of fear and the thought of the shame that public spanking would bring.” (p. 3 ll. 2-4) The pressure from her parents results in a breakdown, where Elisabeth lets her frustrations out by beating Celia.
Celia is a diabetic and overweight girl. She wears thick glasses, and she has a rare grown-up name, which makes her classmates laugh. Celia really wants to be a part of the community, but it is impossible because she is an outsider. She is an easy victim of humiliation because she doesn’t have the ability to socialize and she has never got the chance to be a part of a group. That means she is always a step behind the other children, which refers the title “Celia behind me”. The treatment by the other children has made her an insecure and diffident girl.
Celia and Elizabeth’s relationship is complicated, but at the same time very interesting. Elizabeth hates Celia because deep down she knows that they have a lot in common. They are both overweight, they both wear glasses and they both want to be accepted. Elizabeth only stands up for Celia because she is afraid of her mother, but for...
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