When Victims Become Victimizers. Abuse and Neglect in Sapphire’s The Kid
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In both of her novels, Sapphire depicts disadvantaged gifted children and adolescents. Precious, the illiterate protagonist of Push (1996), eventually starts to write poetry. In The Kid (2011) her son Abdul becomes a passionate dancer. Both protagonists are also victims of sexual abuse and social neglect. While they try to use their gifts as a way of coping with trauma, only Abdul grows up to be a victimizer. This essay shows that Sapphire challenges the stereotypical understanding of the child’s innocence. She also depicts social isolation of abused Black children, and, instead of condemning Abdul, makes her readers try to understand the causes of the rage, anger, and abusive behavior of a victim who becomes a victimizer.
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