Dave has few people who are willing or able to help him, so he learns early on to rely on himself. He would not have endured so much terrible abuse had he not decided to fight. He refuses to allow his mother to win, even though she has removed most...
Dave has few people who are willing or able to help him, so he learns early on to rely on himself. He would not have endured so much terrible abuse had he not decided to fight. He refuses to allow his mother to win, even though she has removed most opportunities for him. After a while, Dave becomes immune to Catherine’s verbal and physical abuse: he steels his mind to stand strong and deny her the satisfaction of seeing him suffer. He intends to beat her at her own game.
Dave is intelligent and makes various plans to obtain food. He knows that he must eat to survive and he intends to live. When Catherine blocks one pathway, Dave quickly finds another one. For instance, he is refused meals at home, so he must attain sustenance another way. He comes up with various plans. He takes food from his classmates and from another classroom. He steals from the store. He raids the garbage pail. He begs at houses. Mother discovers and blocks his various methods, but he never gives up on finding another one.
Dave’s imagination also allows him to be strong and endure. Every child dreams of being a hero, but Dave’s dreams are as important as the food since they help him to continue living. Imagining himself as a king when he steals from the freezer gives him courage. Dreaming of himself as Superman overcoming a problem teaches him pride.
School is also a major part of Dave’s resiliency. School is an anchor, giving him structure and education, and it is a refuge, providing him escape from the tortures of home. Different teachers, his principal, and the school nurse play a role in helping Dave to stay sane and ultimately escape the abuse. Mr. Zeigler believes in Dave and enters his work into a contest, providing emotional support which gives Dave confidence. Mr. Hansen gives Dave food and shows anger at his mistreatment, which allows Dave to realize he is not alone. The school nurse hugs him and tells him he’ll be alright. Dave is missing that comfort and security from his family, and he desperately needs it. “I want so much to be liked, to be loved.”
Overall, a combination of Dave’s personality and people’s compassion give him the strength to fight.