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I am writing a short story about a 17 year old boy who kills his abusive father. The...

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supersmartpants | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted July 4, 2013 at 10:32 PM via web

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I am writing a short story about a 17 year old boy who kills his abusive father. The boy is in a mental institution and talks to a criminal psychologist. He suffers from guilt. Can you give me some ideas about how I could show that he overcomes his guilt? 

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 5, 2013 at 12:50 AM (Answer #1)

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In my mind, the most direct way to address the protagonist's guilt is to use his sessions with the criminal psychologist.  The sessions between them can help to reveal the source of his guilt, how it manifests into his own being in terms of shame or regret, and  the path to overcome it.  The sessions with the criminal psychologist would be the most direct way in which the boy can be shown to understand his actions and explore the guilt he feels about what he did and why it was done.  Part of this can be to identify what was done and why he had to do what he needed to do.  It seems that addressing the issue of abuse is going to be critical here.  If the boy is to overcome his guilt, he might have to do some confrontation of what happened in the past.  This is where the use of the criminal psychologist will be essential as they can be the portal through which the reader and the protagonist can go into the past.  The sessions with the psychologist can be critical in helping the protagonist overcome his guilt about what he did and the conditions that prompted it.  Overcoming this guilt will also involve exploring the full dimensions of guilty behavior and this is where the sessions can help to bring out the full nature of  this process.

The psychologist can be instrumental in helping him overcome his guilt about what was done.  The use of the criminal psychologist is the way for the reader to enter the mind of the protagonist without the use of the voice- over or some other deus et machina.  How this progresses is going to be dependent on where you want to go with it.  Yet, if the question is about how the best path to overcome his guilt, using his sessions with the criminal psychologist would be a good start because it shows therapy as illuminating the source of action taken and how to better understand it.

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