Gut wrenching, controversial, and unpredictable…it is what Chris Crutcher’s invokes in Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes. Teenage life is not supposed to be easy but it should be nowhere close to Eric Calhoune’s, the main character of the book, life. From physical violence from adults to constantly being torn down as a child, to saving his best friend Sarah’s life, Eric experiences it all. Conflict is used to evoke emotions and show that the world is not always a peaceful place. Depending on the story, conflict can either make or break the plot. Crutcher also incorporates several controversial topics to the book to make it memorable and relevant to the real world. While some readers believe that conflict is not a major part of this novel a closer analysis will show that conflict improves the plot and ties the book together.
First off, Dale Thorton, a school bully of Eric’s middle school years, constantly takes lunch money from anyone he can get his hands on. Dale gives Sarah and Eric many hard times as preteens by constantly insulting them and demanding their lunch money. Sarah becomes sick of puting up with other peoples torment and finally stands up for herself. She decides not to be pushed around anymore and convince Dale to stop bullying her and Eric. “Dale glared at her again and dropped his fist; he say’s “you probably don’t got no money anyway. I’ll just take money from your fat friend” (Crutcher 26). This quote shows that power can get results and is the easy way out. This begins the turn of events in the book.
Next, a conflict arises with Brittain and Eric over Eric dating Brittain’s recently ex girlfriend, Jody. Eric finds it necessary to show Brittain up at swim practice daily anyway so this only adds gas to the flames. Mark meets Eric in the hallway before class and says, “That’s low Calhoune. It’s one thing to go after me in the pool. It’s something else to go after my girl” (Crutcher 157). The quote shows that jealousy can cause conflict very...
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