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The Social Implication Of Please Stop Laughing At Me

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Please Stop Laughing At Me by Jodee Blanco is an autobiography of her life during her time at school. There are many messages in this story. The one that is most overwhelming and powerful is the message about teenage and adolescent peer groups and the torment and social isolation that comes with not belonging to one of the right cliques.

Her story relates her life from fourth grade to high school. Jodee wanted to be part of the right group of people. She says things like, "I will be embraced by the mysterious elusive society called the 'popular crowd'"(8). Calling the "popular crowd" an "elusive society" helps to establish how hard it is to get into a certain peer group. Later in the story, Blanco tells the reader exactly who these elusive cliques are in her school:

Every school bus has a hierarchy, a caste system. The cool crowd -- the kids who smoke, come to class with hickies, and get into enough trouble to be the secret envy of the honor roll students - occupies the back rows. The cheerleaders and star athletes take the middle seats. The serious students sit near the front. The nerds and the outcasts never know where they'll end up. If they're lucky, they can find an empty seat directly behind or to the right of the driver. (8)

Every group she names is a clique; she also describes how a person ends up being a part of them. This statement also leads to one example of what happens if one is not part of the right clique: one has the desire to be "in," but is labeled a loser. Sitting directly behind the driver is not the best seat in the world; it seems as if that's the place for people who have to sit where an adult can protect them from getting picked on. Later in the book, she even calls this the "loser seat." Eventually, being a social outcast lead to being mentally abuse by other student.

"The cheerleader sitting next to me handed me a note. Hesitantly, I open it. 'YOU SUCK BITCH'."(pg) Two things in this statement stand out: One is that "you suck bitch" is all in capital letters. It is a strong statement, and the capital letters add emphasis to the malice of the statement. She doesn't say "a student" handed her the note; she says it was "a cheerleader." Blanco makes sure the reader knows the note was from someone in a high school group - a cheerleader, typically high up in high school hierarchy. The other thing she tries to point out is the lengths to which a person will go to make another person feel unwanted.

Although mental abuse can be detrimental to the person, physical abuse is worse. The physical abuse can lead to such thing like: broken bone, bruised, cuts, and in extreme case death. If the physical abuse become frequent it could lead to trip to the hospital. These trips can add up costing more money for the family. Also it is harder to hide physical abuse, so instead of just a few people knowing lots of people know why one is getting tease. In the story, Blanco writes about one instance when she was in the sixth grade. She tells a story about a group of kids who kicked and spat on her. In another part, she talks about a football player choking her. These are both instances of people physically hurting someone for being different, and can lead to ones death.

So what do the experts say about the book, and cliques in general? Katerie Prior says that throughout the narrative, Blanco worries about fitting in with the most popular kids in school. This statement coincides with the earlier discussion in this paper about Blanco wanting to fit in.

The article "Dynamics of inclusion and exclusion of preadolescent cliques" by Adler and Adler states: "One dominant features of the Children

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