The Raised Hand

September 2011

The teacher seemed not happy with any of us. At least I had read the book although it was some time ago. He asked specific questions and called on each student when none could give an answer. I was not at all confident about my answer but I raised my hand.  As my hand was up I tried to recall the story.  Stephen, the protagonist, was a difficult lead character. He was evil, abused his girlfriend, and manipulated everyone around him. He seemed two separate people in his own mind. He rode a motorcycle, which is what make me read the book but in his mind he thought he was good and doing good deeds but he was delusional. The teacher called upon one of the three students who sat high in the lecture hall. None of the three cared at all about this and they sat silent just looking down and wishing he would give up and go on to another. I still had my hand raised but he did not call on me, instead he preferred to humiliate those who squirmed uncomfortably trying to stay invisible to him. Even with my hand up I was trying to think what to say. My memory of the story was vague. This man, Stephen, used everyone around him, his mother, his girlfriend, every action of his was justified by his delusions of being a super hero. I was trying to think of his alternative name but could not. Still I knew something about the story and I hoped as I talked about it the details would return to me. I did not really like the book, I expected it to be more fun, not this dark story of abuse. I hoped it would be about the fun of owning and riding a motorcycle. But it was about this guy who was so detached from his reality that he just used others for money so he could carry out his fantasies which he thought were worthy and high minded.

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