- Term Papers and Free Essays

The World Is A Circus ; Ghost Boy

Essay by   •  June 12, 2011  •  1,493 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,091 Views

Essay Preview: The World Is A Circus ; Ghost Boy

Report this essay
Page 1 of 6

Prejudice is an issue that cannot be easily avoided in today's society. It has and always will have a huge impact on the discrimination that some people face based on religion, appearance, background, mental/physical disabilities and etc.

In the novel Ghost Boy, written by Ian Lawrence, prejudice plays an important role in the society built within the pages and cover of the book. Harold Kline, the fourteen year old protagonist of the novel, faces many problems with the members of the society in which he lives based on his appearance because he is an albino. From rhymes to taunts and shoves, Harold is bound to accept the harsh reality that he is forced to live with. Being bullied is never an easy thing to deal with, and it certainly wasn't easy for Harold, till the day the circus came to town. Being inspired with the idea of meeting the Cannibal King, Harold runs off to join the traveling circus, which was the best decision he ever made because it gave him a chance to grow mentally and emotionally, and become a strong individual. The extended metaphor "The World is a Circus" sums up the reality of life in five simple words and for some like Harold, it is hard to recognize or comprehend the meaning of those five simple words until they have experienced it.

Throughout the novel introductions to new characters are made, those whom appear genuine and sincere but really are not at all, and those who carry themselves and their personality with respect and grace but are rejected by society because of their appearance. Tina (Princess Minikin), Samuel, and the Gypsy Magda are the three main examples of sincerity and truthfulness carried throughout friends that prove themselves to be true and ever so loving in the course of this novel. Even though they are called "Freaks" it doesn't stop them from being who they truly are, and it does not influence them in any way, but instead they embrace their uniqueness to reveal to Harold that they are friends unlike any other. In spite of the several talks that the characters exchange with Harold, and the attempt of dying his hair black, Harold still feels weak on the inside and not ready to defend himself. Instead he retreats into himself and repeatedly utters the little chant he invented "No one can see me, no one can hurt me. The words that they say cannot harm m."(p11). Stepping aside from the world of the book for a moment, and taking a look at the reality we live in, media is not making it any easier for teenagers now a days either. The many hair products face products, ways for dieting and plastic surgeries are cons that add to the problem of low self esteem found amongst teens this day. Many people try so many possibilities to make themselves look like their favourite models on television, which eventually leads the person to be brain washed and forget about their true personality.

Circus life is a microcosm of society. Different people are set aside, and considered as freaks. This is the way life is because the harsh reality is that when we see someone who is different, unique, whether they have a disability or a retardation, we do not go up to them and make friends with them or chat, instead we try to find any way possible to avoid them and walk away not trying to make any eye contact with the "freak". Media has influenced our thoughts and our judgment of people in many ways. Television shows and cartoons have placed a great emphasis on drama and comedy, and comedy as a genre involved many different aspects. There are some who make fun of people with retardations; there are some who criticize people's ideas and appearance based on colour of skin or the choice of clothing and etc. One common example is the cartoon television drama Family Guy, considered to be funny and watched by over a 100 person per day, also receives many reviews and comments on websites and it's clips are being constantly hosted on the internet on popular websites such as Negative messages are constantly being sent to the youth of today throughout media, and it makes it harder for them to comprehend the true morals of life and look past the typical stereotypes.

As the dictionary states, the definition of the word "freak" is: a person or animal on exhibition as an example of a strange deviation from nature; monster. On the other hand, the definition of an "albino" is: a person with pale skin, light hair, pinkish eyes, and visual abnormalities resulting from a hereditary inability to produce the pigment melanin. Harold is considered as a "freak" in this novel and unfortunately this is Ian Lawrence's way of portraying how ignorance can hurt in many ways. Since people don't know the meaning between the word freak, and an albino, they consider Harold as something else, an unworldly creature just like much of the reference that was made to Tina, the Gypsy Magda, and Samuel. Three very loving and sincere people referred to as "monsters" because of their appearance.

"You're all with the circus, are you?" he asked. "Yes," said Samuel.



Download as:   txt (8.2 Kb)   pdf (103.7 Kb)   docx (11.8 Kb)  
Continue for 5 more pages »
Only available on
Citation Generator

(2011, 06). The World Is A Circus ; Ghost Boy. Retrieved 06, 2011, from

"The World Is A Circus ; Ghost Boy" 06 2011. 2011. 06 2011 <>.

"The World Is A Circus ; Ghost Boy.", 06 2011. Web. 06 2011. <>.

"The World Is A Circus ; Ghost Boy." 06, 2011. Accessed 06, 2011.