Emotional Survival The most outstanding theme in this true story was Jennings' emotional survival and the fact that he kept his kind, compassionate heart intact throughout his brutalization at the hands of bitter, angry, sick, and outright sadistic adults.  What is amazing is where this child found the fortitude and the sheer will to go on.  I think this is a strong case for innate instinct working in conjuntion with learning by example from your environment.  If Jennings took in all that he experienced and modeled such behavior, he might have turned into one of a few very poor examples of the humanity to which he was exposed.  He could have taken the road his brothers and father chose and become a confirmed drunk, he could have turned to violence, fueled by his anger, bitterness, phyical abuse and humiliation he suffered in the majority of the homes and institutions in which he was placed. Instead this boy took the tiny crumbs of kindness thrown his way, and kept those in his heart and used those when dealing with others less fortunate than he.  The mind is such a curious thing.  Most would and probably do go the other way, to their detriment.   Jennings seemed to use every experince, whether humiliating or gentled and kind, and learned from it.  It is no small wonder that as an adult, he adopted a child.  

Expert Answers

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This little boy who would not be spiritually destroyed despite horrendous circumstances and experiences reminds me of Anne Frank and of Dave Pelzer in A Child Called "It". For children, who are so innocent and powerless, to suffer at the hands of adults is surely the most abominable of all evils. What could possibly be worse?

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