The Misfits

by James Howe

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Student Question

Why does Kevin Hennessey in The Misfits make fun of others?

Expert Answers

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The narrator doesn't go into enough detail about Kevin's character or background for the reader to make any sound judgement of why he makes fun of other people. He does do it a lot and at times says some very cruel things. For example, he bullies Daryl by mimicking his stutter and calling him a "dweeb."

The other characters seem to think he bullies them to make up for the fact he isn't particularly bright. According to the narrator, he doesn't understand irony and spends most of his time in the school office.

At the same time, however, the gang's attitude towards him is somewhat condescending. They view his humor, what everyone else in their class finds hilarious, as basic and see his future as "a row of numbers across his chest." Worse, Joe replies to his taunts by calling him "Numbskull of Unknown Paternal Origin." This could just be a joke, especially considering his own name-calling tendencies, but if it's true, it seems like a very hurtful thing to say.

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