Analyze Dave: Dave Pelzer was a strong-minded child. He was determined to being the best he could. He tried his hardest in school and put his all into it. School was his escape from his home. He loved being there and he put his all into doing well in class. "School was a haven for me...I knew I had more "happy face" papers than anybody in the class. I obeyed my teacher and I felt she liked me." (p.36) Dave tried so hard to be what his mother wanted, he tried to make him love her and not to be a "bad boy". No matter how many times his mother would hit him and abuse him, he would never give up. As a brother he had given up. He knew that a relationship with them was never going to work. He was the outsider, they were apart of the family he was not.
The Social Environment: He grew up in a "good" neighborhood in Daly City, California. Even though his home had "white picket fence" potential, what went on inside was far from the fairy tale life. His father was a fireman and supported his family that way. The school that Dave attended helped him to win his freedom. The teachers tried to be involved with the students as best they could. Before things started to get bad at home, Dave had many friends. He played at recess, and enjoyed being at school. When the abuse started to get worse, Dave's mom would not allow him to wear clean clothes anymore. He went to school with ratty clothes and smelled from not being washed. This affected his social life at school. "During the lunch recesses, I stuffed the sandwiches down my throat as fast as I listened to my former friends make up songs about me. 'David the food thief' and "Pelzer-Smellzer" were two of the playground favorites."(P.58)
Relationship between Dave and his mother/ Analyzing the mother: Catherine, David's mother was very sick with a mental illness. I'm not a doctor so I can not label her, but I will try to explain her social/psychological problems the best I can. From my perspective I see David's mother as being very depressed. Although she was able to maintain a some-what normal life for sometime, there was always an overlying sickness in her. "Once, when I was four or five years old, mom said she was sick, and I remember feeling that she did not seem to be herself at all. It was a day when Father was working at the fire station. After serving dinner, Mom rushed from the table and began painting the steps that led to the garage...The paint had not fully dried, when mom began tacking rubber mats tot the steps. The red paint was all over the mats and mom. When she finished, mom went into the house and collapsed on the couch. I remember asking her why she had put the mats down before the paint dried. She smiled and said, " I just wanted to surprise your dad." (p.18) This impulsive action, that was a result of her "feeling sick" is an example of the mother's weird behaviors, even before the time of the excessive abuse.
Catherine was also a well put together person at one point, but soon her looks began...