Give three examples when Piper is an emotional bully 

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hgarey71 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Gennifer Choldenko's book Al Capone Does My Shirts, Piper is the antagonist to the main character Moose Flanagan. Moose's family has just moved to Alcatraz Island, and Piper's father is the warden. Piper believes her position as the warden's daughter gives her power, and she uses this perceived power to get others to do what she wants. 

One of the ways she is emotionally a bully is in the way she reacts to Moose's mentally challenged sister, Natalie. She is insensitive to Natalie's condition and speaks to Moose as though Natalie is not even there. She asks Moose if Natalie is retarded. He is angered by her and tells her it is none of her business. She continues to stare at Natalie. Here is an example of what Piper says: 

"So not retarded. Stupid, then?" Piper asks. 

"Look, could we drop this already?"

"I'm just asking a simple question."

"Not in front of Natalie.' She shrugs and walks behind the morgue. Theresa and I follow. Nat stays put. 'How would you feel if I asked, are you stupid?"

"I would just say no." Piper flips her hair behind her shoulder. 

"No, she's not stupid."

"Prove it."

"Uhhh." I clench my fists. I'd really like to give this Piper girl a pounding. 

Another way she bullies is by putting Moose into impossible situations. She convinces her father to have a talk with Moose about the rules on Alcatraz, including that convicts are never to be spoken about outside of the island. She clearly has her dad fooled into thinking she is an obedient and loving child. At school, she begins to tell the students exactly what her father has expressly forbidden both of them to do. She pulls Moose into her diatribe, as well: 

"What the heck was that? Take the little policewoman off Alcatraz and she runs her mouth like crazy. Capone this. Capone that. Exactly what the warden said never to do. And now if I don't talk about Alcatraz, I'll look like a chump. And if I do, she'll tell Daddy on me. Score one for Daddy's little miss." 

When Piper tries to entangle Moose in her laundry scheme, which involves selling the laundering services of famous convicts to students at the Marina school, she makes fun of Moose for his reticence to go into restricted areas. 

"'You go ahead, I'll stay here.' I try to make my voice strong and clear. 'I can't take Natalie, you know, up there.' 

'Natalie...like she has anything to do with it. Chicken. Bwahk bwahk bwahk.' Piper clucks, flapping her arms. 'C'mon, Annie, we're late.' She spits in the bushes. 'Would you get a load of that guy?' I hear Piper say." 

Piper uses her position as the warden's daughter to manipulate Moose because she knows that they moved to Alcatraz in order for Natalie to attend a special school. With this knowledge, she is able to bully him into doing what she wants him to do. 

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One example of when Piper acts like an emotional bully is when she meets Natalie and says, "So, not retarded. Stupid, then?" (page 23). She says this in front of Natalie, and she does not care how her words affect Natalie, who is autistic. She is only moderately impressed when Natalie can do math problems in her head.

Another example of Piper's emotional bullying is when she threatens to tell her father, who is the warden, that Natalie is "just plain crazy" (page 24). She claims that she has to tell her father everything, and Moose knows that her telling her father this information could cause Moose's father to lose his job. This would be particularly damaging as he beat out 237 electricians to get his job in the first place. 

Later, in order to convince Moose to help her with her laundry business, Piper tells him that she is sorry for making him meet with her dad and that she will always be nice to his sister, Natalie, if he helps her (page 90). Whether she is telling the truth is debatable. You can likely find other examples of when Piper emotionally bullies other people in the book.