Influence of Bullying
Ryan Dvorak's letter to Robert Cormier
Ryan Dvorak, an eighth-grade student in Alabama, wrote to Robert Cormier on 15 April 2000. In his letter he shares that Cormier's books move him and were the cause of his becoming a more avid reader because of the emotional pull of the books' portrayal of real-life kinds of events. He asks thematic questions. One was "were you bullied as a child?" and ties this question to several characters across Cormier's novels. He explains that his teacher had dinner with Cormier at a conference which is how he got a hold of his address. This respective and appreciative letter asks for information for an author's project.
Jonathan Osborne's letter to Robert Cormier
In this two-page typed letter from 13-year-old Jonathan Osborne, of Alabama, dated 19 April 2000, he explains the project he is working on for school and asks Robert Cormier a series of interview questions. He requests that Cormier, if possible, reply quickly because of the due date of his project. The books he has read and wants to report on include Heroes, The Chocolate War, and We All Fall Down.
Daniel Lowe's letter to Robert Cormier 20 April 2000
Daniel Lowe writes to Robert Cormier with questions he hopes to use in an author report. He asks if Cormier was bullied or a bully in his past and if he ever felt like the characters of The Chocolate War or Beyond the Chocolate War. He also asks for clarification on the ending of I Am the Cheese. Finally, Daniel asks if Cormier writes similar characters on purpose since Daniel thought Jerry Renault and Buddy were similar as were Harry Flowers and Archie Costello.
Robert Cormier's response to Daniel Lowe, Jonathan Osborne, and Ryan Dvorak
In this two-page typed letter by Robert Cormier to three Alabama middle school students, Daniel Lowe, Jonathan Osborne, and Ryan Dvorak, Cormier apologizes for combining his responses but answers each query in turn, He shares that, yes, he was bullied and describes what that was like. Cormier also addresses his early concerns with the similarities between Harry Flowers and Archie Costello and briefly mentions why he writes about teenagers.
Bullying and its long-term effect into adulthood is increasingly the subject of study for many fields. NPR reports on it frequently including "Kids Involved in Bullying Grow Up To Be Poorer, Sicker Adults."
NPR also reviewed and shared excerpts of Dear Bully, an anthology of stories by authors who were bullies or bullied in "Writers Reflect On Childhood Torment In 'Dear Bully'"