Author's Commentary, Page 3

But as a result of his personal problems and pain, he also developed a deep sense of empathy, which is probably why so many—even adults—confided their own problems in him. He understood and, despite his naturally garrulous nature, never betrayed a trust.

When the abductor finally unties his kidnap victim in the wake of their mutual catharsis, that was intended as being symbolic of their liberation from "pride's prison." The first step, as it is oft stated, in solving a problem is admitting that it exists. The boy is forced to stop hiding behind his denials of the severity of his problems at school and how very much they hurt him.

Nevertheless, notwithstanding the story's title, the abductor never once counsels the boy to bury his pride and go to his parents and admit his problems to them so they might change his school, or at least assure that he gets into a classroom in which more of his neighborhood friends are in. Why not?

When the abductor tells the boy, "I don't know the answer why people sometimes act as cruelly as they do...," he means that. It is incomprehensible to him that someone could actually derive pleasure from tormenting or humiliating another person, as alien to his nature. Neverthelss, he knows that such people exist and if the boy is to live at all, it must be in such a world.

Thus, he gives him advice to help him cope in such an environment instead. Some might consider this "blaming the victim," which is what I meant when I earlier asserted that the piece is not as "whining" or "touchy-feely" as it might appear to be at first reading. Indeed, in many respects the advice the adult gives the boy resembles a 1960s Charles Atlas ad in comic books.

Thank you for reading the story and please recommend it to others. I hope it does some good.

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