Short Story Review for A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune

KeskusteluEDE3343 Teaching Adol Lit MS Sp 2012

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Short Story Review for A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune

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Muokkaaja: tammikuu 30, 2012, 9:07pm

“A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune” is a short story written by Chris Crutcher. In this short story, the protagonist character Angus Bethune wrestles with the image of normality in comparison to his abnormal life. Angus comes from a “dysfunctional” family were both his mother and father have remarried and entered homosexual relationships. As an overweight child, Angus longs to be normal and complains about his name and image. Crutcher uses these picturesque ideas and images to characterize his characters and their surroundings in order to provide the reader with details in which he or she can relate.
As the story develops, Angus continues to long for social acceptance and daydreams about dancing with Melissa Lefevre at the Senior Winter Ball. Because they have both been elected as the Senior Winter Ball King and Queen, Angus and Melissa will share a dance alone in front of their fellow classmates. As the day approaches, Angus gains insightful advice from Granddad as well as enrolls in dance lessons for his big moment with Melissa. He believes that if he does everything right and normal then he will be able to escape the reality of us abnormal life and experience a dream-like moment with the girl of his dreams.
Chris Crutcher presents this story in a way that most people can relate to some of the situations found in the high school setting. This story was an easy read and created a familiar atmosphere that is relevant to most students. In the descriptions and different dialogue found in this story, the author creates the idea of the importance of image versus the reality of particular circumstances. Angus struggles with the occurrence of stereotypes and discusses how they affect the ways that people are perceived by others. “Angus Bethune” captivates the idea that although people may look a certain way, they tend to have issues and secrets too. As the reader, I agree with the author’s opinions concerning the prevalence of stereotypes within the school setting. The theme is a familiar idea and can be related to people of all ages that have experienced a variety of situations. Angus’s dream girl, Melissa, brings out the idea that even the “normal” people still struggle with something whether image, family, or any other issue they see as “dysfunctional.” There is a multitude of books that relate to this short story and the ideas of judgment it presents. In the book The Help the issues of judging a person based on his or her skin color relate to the issues of judging a person based on appearance found within “Angus Bethune.” As I reflect on this short story I am constantly reminded of the old saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” After experiencing my childhood, teenage years, and now college, I have met many people from different backgrounds that don’t always look like me. Chris Crutcher used an everyday thought and action to create a fun story that will allow students to understand that everyone has a story and struggles with something.
Below are several teaching ideas, concerns, themes, or connections with other text that a teacher could consider important and could possibly teach:
• Define “normal.” After the students have come up with a definition read a few aloud and see what their definition of normal is. Discuss the comparisons and contrasts and dwell on the idea that normal is relative, cultural, there is no such thing as normal.
• List some stereotypes within your classroom/school. Discuss where they originate and how they are perceived by other students. Identify subcultures (ex. jocks, nerds, races, preppy, prom queen) that are popular in the lives of the students.
After reading “A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune,” the reader is able to relate in multiple ways to Angus and the other characters discussed. The prominent theme in this short story illuminates the reality of the struggles everyone faces in order to be socially accepted as normal. I believe this short story is a beneficial read that will allow students to relate to the characters as well as each other on a more personal basis. Crutcher promotes confidence in being an individual as well as acceptance of others even when they are not viewed as “normal” by some.

tammikuu 19, 2012, 5:44pm

I believe that Chris Curtcher touches on real life situations that occur in our society. Issues of stereotypes, same sex relationships and the children who are raised in those households, and learning to love yourself for who you are when everyone else sees you as nothing but a joke. Angus Bethune wants to fit in with the "in" crowd, but after years of torment over his weight and home situation, he knows that he will never belong to that group of individuals. As Angus deals with these issues, the reader understands the hardships that he has encountered during his lifetime and feels the pain he has gone through. This short story is a good story for children of any age to read because they can visualize and understand the affects of bullying. Children would enjoy this story because they can relate to what is happening to Angus and make connections with it too. Compared to "The Ketchup Incident" by Shawn Penning, this is a happy story that ends the way that the reader hopes it does. "The Ketchup Incident" deals with bullying in a way that shows the consequences of pranks and the horrible outcomes that can come from it. "A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune" is a great story for younger children, as well as older children, who are not ready for the graphic images that bullying can create, but older children should definitely pick up "The Ketchup Incident" and learn the harm that can come from "harmless" antics.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 31, 2012, 12:44am

“A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune” is a short story written by Chris Crutcher. I really enjoyed reading this short story. I found it very touching because I really haven't realized how dysfunctional or different families can be. Not only have I not realized this, but I haven't realized how that can affect a teenager. This teenage boy has had a hard time at school and at home, so he really has no place of happiness. He comes from a couple who divorced at a very young age for him and are now married to their same sex. I couldn't even imagine how that feels. Angus also is a large boy from what the story states, which is what makes his life at school difficult. This just adds to his image since he is already known for having parents of the same sex. Both his size and parents make it very difficult for him when trying to fit in. I feel like this story is so relatable for so many teens out in the world. They might not live the same situation, but some teenagers have trouble trying find a place to fit in. Not to mention the bullying that went on this story that happens everyday in the real world. I think this story is an awesome story for teenagers to read. Hopefully this story would show teenagers that it's ok to be different and not fit in with the so called "in crowd". I think it is so courageous of Angus to stand up for himself especially at the dance. Even though he was voted in as senior winter ball king as a joke he took it like a real man. He showed up at the ball instead of backing out and looking like a coward. In the end he left with his dream girl who wasn't so perfect herself. I am sure this made Angus have a little more confidence after realizing his dream girl had a problem of her own.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 29, 2012, 10:04pm

A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune, by Chris Crutcher is a short story about an Indian school boy, named Angus, who experiences many life challenges through his young adult years. Angus’ life faces many difficulties like homosexual parents, obesity, and bullying. Despite all the challenges in Angus’ life, he is given the chance to rise above. Angus is picked as the winter ball king. Through choosing to stand up for himself, and not lose his likability Angus wins over the girl of his dreams and comes out on top.

Throughout this particular story many excellent themes are presented. The short story exposes the reality of the difficult life that many kids face. Angus is born into a family that does not fit the social norm, and because of that he is out casted throughout his childhood. Also, the physical appearance plays a role in how his peers view him. The largeness of his stature and waist add to the divide between him and other students. This book address the fact that kids faces challenges, but also the way others treat kids who have different lives. Bullying is such a major part of the story. The inability of others to accept Angus causes so much doubt and dislike towards his own personhood. However, the book also shows the picture of hope in humanity. When the girl of his dreams treated Angus like a person, and not an outsider, I found hope and so do others. The realization is not everyone is a bully. Many books look at the idea of children facing difficulty throughout childhood. Books such as Diary of a Whimpy Kid, talk about the challenges of being a kid, and not being like different.

The short story was by no far my favorite. I did not like the harsh, blunt attack that Angus put on himself. I did not like seeing the world that way. Even though I know this type of life is a reality, I found it difficult to read. Also, story stories have never found a major place in my heart, thus this one definitely fell short. I feel as if I did not relate as well. Therefore, the read was not nearly as enjoyable as I would like.

1) Address the idea that not everyone has the same looking family, but that does not mean we should look at other kids differently.
2) Discuss the issue of bullying and how it affects and influences people's lives.
3) Discuss the value of remaining who you are and not letting others' bullying change you.

Overall, the short story had many valuable lessons that can be used to help students grow into caring people. However, I do not think I would teach this short story in my class, becasue I think there are better written short stories out there.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 30, 2012, 4:50pm

Chris Crutcher's " A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune" is a short story that is full of comedy. The main issue that arises in this book is the bullying that students endure. The main character and narrarator is Angus Bethune and he is an overweight teenager who is an Indian School boy. Not only is he bullied for his size, but he is the child of homosexual parents. His parents divorced and both married the same sex. As a joke by his peers, he has been chosen to be prom king. The prom queen happens to be the girl of his dreams, Melissa. Angus and Melissa both have issues and it proves that just because your popular in school, does not mean you do not have issues. The end of this story was in a way predictable.

I thought this story was funny and interesting. The fact that it was told througheyes really helped me to understand some of the things that people that are bullied go through. I really liked his dry sense of humor in this work. Coming from a dysfunctional family myself, I can relate to some of the feelings he has. Our situations are different in the sense that his parents are with the same sex, but both of our parents are separated and that was close enough to make a connection. The main issue of this work is the bullying that Angus indures. Crutcher's work reminds me in a way of the story "Holes" by Louis Sachar, because the main character in that story experiences bullying from his peers and teachers for being over weight, much like Angus. I definitely agree that bullying is a terrible issue for a child to endure and this book touches bases on just about everything a child could be teased for. With that, there is comic relief through Angus. He is a funny, sarcastic boy, but i think that it is part of his defense mechanism.

Teaching Connections:
1. I think that this would be a good book for students to read, especially those that are experiencing bullying. It would not matter where in the year i placed this reading because this issue happens every day
2. An activity i could do before or after reading this short story would be to place a big straight line down the middle of my class room and as students to stand on either side away from the line. I would then ask questions like, "Who in here has ever been bullied in some way?" or "Who has bullied someone?" "Who has witnessed someone be bullied and did nothing about it?" etc. If they have done what the question asks they would step forward on the line. This would be an activity that would be eye opening for the students and help them realize that no matter what they are going through they are not alone.

Overall i thought this was a good story and would be an excellent read for a child that is experiencing bullying. The main theme of bullying and "never judge a book by its cover" are throughout this book entirely. If you do not like dry, sarcastic humor, this book may not be for you. This is a comedic short story on a serious issue. Good, eye opening read.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 31, 2012, 1:14am

Chris Crutcher's "A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune" is a comical narrative that focuses mainly on the problems of bullying in the school system. Though he makes use of a rather cliche plot, Chris Crutcher does a wonderful job of describing the problem of bullying. Crutcher, before he became a writer, directed an alternative school for inner-city kids in Oakland, California, and later became a family therapist. Because of his past, the author has become quite familiar with bullying problems, increasing his textual credibility.

The story focuses on Angus Bethune, an overweight teenager with two sets of homosexual parents. Angus is often the victim of harsh ridicule from his peers. As a practical joke from some of the more 'popular' kids in school, he has been chosen as the king of the prom and must face one of his greatest fears- dancing with the girl of his dreams. Melissa Lefevre is one of the prettiest girls in the school, and Angus just so happens to have a crush on her, one that has lasted since kindergarten. Angus, who is the narrator, takes the reader through his sarcastic thought process as the night of the prom unfolds.

I believe that this short story would be a great read for a middle school aged child. The sarcastic descriptions of the various characters make for a very entertaining read. The narrator holds nothing back, making the situation quite believable. Most young adults can relate to some part of the book, which points out that we all have our problems, no matter our background or status. The author obviously puts bullying into a negative light, but also shows that it can be overcome with a little bit of courage and help from the right people. I completely agree that bullying is a large problem in the school system that must not be tolerated. This might be able to relate with the book HOLES by Louis Sachar.

I think it is quite obvious that this book makes for a good opportunity to discuss the problem of bullying with students, talking about its negative effects. In a constructivist classroom, the teacher may take time to point out the differences between the classmates to show how these differences make each individual unique. This may be a long shot, but this book could be used to talk about happy endings, relating to several different plots in fairy tales.

Overall, I think this is a wonderfully entertaining short story that can be taught in most classrooms. The themes of overcoming difficult situations, opening up to outside help, and preventing bullying are all valiant teaching points. The content can be vulgar at time, but for a highschool and middle school setting, this should not be a problem at all.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 31, 2012, 12:53am

Chris Crutcher’s fictional short story “A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune,” is written through the perspective of a teenage boy dealing with the issues of family dysfunction, bullying, and pressure to fit into a certain group of peers. There is not much background information revealed to the reader besides Angus’s family dynamics and his appearance.

In the story the main character, Angus, deals with the humiliation of being “the fat kid with perverted parents” as he says on page nine. Angus is considered an outcast among his peers but is ironically chosen as Senior Winter Ball King. This is the result of a joke by Rick Sanford, the boyfriend of Melissa, his long-time crush. Since Angus does not know how to dance well, his greatest fear of the night is the dance with Melissa who is also Senior Winter Ball Queen, but to his surprise, it turns out better than he could imagine. He discovers that Melissa has problems just as him even if different ones. By the end of the night, Angus has had his moment he always dreamed of.

I really enjoyed this story because it was both humorous and serious. Angus tells his story in first person point-of-view, which allows the reader to better understand his situation and the struggles he faces in school. The text is very relatable to most anyone who has experienced the hardships of high school peer pressure. This short story brings up the issue of peer pressure and the strain of our image to others. The author uses the huge problem of peer pressure in order to relate to adolescent readers. Crutcher believes that peer pressure is a very real problem for all high school students in some way. I agree with this because I have experienced this type of pressure to fit in and be popular like most all of my friends and peers. The issue of image is another huge part of this text. Angus struggles to have confidence in his appearance because he is bigger than most others around him, and we find out that Melissa deals with bulimia. This shows how big of a struggle body image is for everyone whether popular or unpopular. This is one thing that most anyone can relate to because our culture has caused us to believe that there is a certain acceptance through our appearance. I agree with Crutcher that this is a major issue especially for adolescents today. Bullying is yet another issue that appears in this text. This is a serious problem that has become very prominent in our society and schools. Angus is the victim of bullying simply because of his looks and his family. The story confirmed my belief that each of these things truly is a major struggle for everyone.

Teachers could use this book in the classroom by:
• Having students learn about bullying and the seriousness of it and discuss how they or others are affected by it
• Talk about the issues of peer pressure and the things that students deal with the most

I really enjoyed this short story because it is extremely relatable and relevant. It is a great story for adolescents to read and to discuss the struggles that come with that time in their lives. It also allows the reader to think about the way they treat others and how it may be affecting them. The story discusses the various hardships of being a teenager and learning how to overcome them and how they may be able to change their outlook in a positive way.

tammikuu 20, 2012, 12:33am

A brief moment in the life of Angus Bethune was enticing from beginning to end. A story about an over weight boy in junior high with not only one gay parent, but two. He is growing up and entering an awkward age, and worst part of it is, he is being bullied for all his differences. I loved how Chris Curtcher made Angus light hearted in the sense that he could laugh at his life and did not want people to feel sorry for him or go to therapy. All he wanted was a normal life. I could relate a lot to this, with sometimes feeling like the heaviest or ugliest person in the room. Most kids Angus's age are always worried that everyone is staring at them, but with Angus they were. I can remember feeling exactly like that. When Angus got the chance to become Winter Ball King, his dream of talking to and dancing with his dream girl Melissa Lefevre came true. The sad things was, because of the way everyone had always treated Angus, he could only think of negative things that Melissa could have been saying about having to dance with him. I always felt that way growing up. Feeling as if people complained about me, because being the youngest, my siblings did complain and I guess in the long run it affected me to think as if Angus was thinking. I loved how in the end Melissa saw how people (Rick) treated Angus and knew it was someone she could truly talk to. Having the one person to tell problems to and vice versa is a great way to realize that like Angus and Melissa, know matter what we look like or how perfect everyone thinks another person is, we are all different and all want to be socially excepted.

tammikuu 21, 2012, 7:32pm

"A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune" by Chris Crutcher is a depiction of a student that is different and because of these differences he finds himself being bullyed very often. The story is about a boy named Angus Bethune, an overweight teenager that happens to have two sets of parents which are homosexual. He has a strong home life despite the obvious differences of other kids in his school. The prom has approached and he has been choosen as the prom king as a cruel prank by one of the more popular kids. He is aware that the whole thing is a prank but he has learned from his grandfather that it is easier to just go along with some things than to bring even more attention to yourself and decides to go to the prom. His biggest fear is not the humiliation ofr the prom but having to dance with a girl that he has been in love with all of his life. This was Angus' story and he led us through it as maticulously as the mean kid had set him up to be prom king.

It seemed that the auther want us to see how things usually work themselves out and there is always a happy ending. Unfortunately, in life kids will understand that life is hard and very seldom work out for the best. Bullying is not a small part of the schools in fact there are many different kinds of bulying today and the students have many more terrors to deal with. In this short story, Chris Crutcher does a goo job of portraying the increasing problems that could lead up to being bullied.

I think this would make a great story to introduved to students that are experiencing theses same types of problems. Reading from angus' point of view helps the students to really see how thing s can be and how they are in life events. I think it is safe to say that most students will be able to relate to this rather they are the villian or the victim and I also think that each group will have something to think about after reading the story.
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Muokkaaja: tammikuu 30, 2012, 11:00pm

The short story "A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune" by Chris Crutcher is a work of fiction.

The story is about a boy named Angus who is large and has two sets of homosexual parents. He loves his family, but the kids at his high school are not so accepting and riducule Angus because his parents are different. Angus is also teased for being large and bulky. However, those who tease Angus are pummeled by his fist until they see the errors of their ways. Angus's anxiety in the short story are mainly caused by his being elected king of the school dance. As king he must dance with the queen, Melissa. Angus has had a crush on Melissa for years and is nervous he will embarass himself. The story plays out how Angus gets through the dance and what kind of impression he makes with Melissa.

I thought this story was really good. I appreciated that the home life was unique and that the character was strong in his love and defence of his family. High school students will be able to relate to Angus's low self-esteem and what he does to raise it. I think students would like to read about a character who is real and doesn't sugar coat anything. I would use this in my classroom to liven up the curriculum.

This story raises the issues of bullying and having a different home life. Chris Crutcher is, of course, speaking against bullying, and I agree. Bullying is a big issue in today's schools and is damaging to kids. I have never ready anything like this before in terms of Angus's home life, but I have read plenty of books concerning bullying and beng self-conscious. I think it is good for people to read those kinds of books as an outlet for how they feel if they don't like to express their insecurities to other people. I wish there were more young adult books where the main character has homosexual parents because some young adults do have homosexual parents. It is similar to what we talked about Tuesday in class about there not being enough books about minorities, and how everyone wants to be able to relate to the main character in some way. A larger issue this book raises is the educator's role in issues of bullying. I'm sure the teachers had to know that Angus was made fun of and did not do anything. I noticed the lack of concern from those officials who can stop bullying. I think this story shows how important teachers and other school officials are in making school a safe environment.

Teaching Connections:
-Relating to Angus' approach to being bullied
-Experiences with bullying
-Experiences with being different
-Might be concerns with the homosexual content in the classroom

The honesty of the short story is the best part. The honesty is authentic, and I think that is because of Crutcher being a therapist and knowing how important being honest with oneself is. I loved this story and wished it was a book so I could enjoy reading about Angus growing as a person. With issues of bullying and being unique, this short story is a great teaching tool for students. This short story could help other students stand up to their bullies and teach them about the importance of being nice to peers.

tammikuu 28, 2012, 1:39pm

The story "A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune", by Chris Crutcher, is one of the most entertaining short stories I've read in quite a while.

Angus Bethune is an outcast. He always has been. People have learned that picking on him involves a risk--he admits to the reader that he is short-tempered, and has no scruples about punching the lights of anyone who dares to make fun of him. Despite his talent in sports (football) and apparent popularity (he has been elected Senior Winter Ball King), Angus still sees himself as a fat kid named after a type of cow, who has two sets of gay parents (his mother and father divorced and remarried same-sex partners).

His insecurity is doubled by the fact that since he is the Senior Winter Ball King, he must dance a dance with the Senior Winter Ball Queen, Melissa Lefevre. Melissa is the most beautiful girl in school, the girl of Angus's dreams ("and only my dreams" he says). After being taunted by Melissa's date, Rick (a truly loathsome fellow), Angus dances with Melissa, and during their conversation she reveals to him that she has bulimia, an eating disorder. Angus realizes that he is not the only one who suffers from insecurity about himself, and realizes that even people whom the world see as beautiful are not satisfied with themselves. He comes out of the experience with a better view of himself and realizes that there's no point in selling himself short just because he doesn't like the way he looks--because it's something that he can't change. It's who he is, and he can be proud of it.

I have never really read a story where the main character's parental situation was such as this is, but I was reminded of the 2010 film "The Kids Are All Right", which starred Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson as a sister and brother with two mothers (Julianne Moore and Annette Bening), who of course are lesbians, and a mutual father, who was the sperm donor. Their efforts to try to find their father lead to tension within the family. Of course, since the film is set in California, the kids don't catch much flak for having homosexual parents. The fact that I had to relate this story to a movie rather than a novel tells us something--there are not a lot of young adult novels that deal with the effects' of parents' and others' homosexuality on young people. This is an area that novelists might do well to look into, because of the growing trend of homosexuality in America.

"A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune" is a highly readable story that has many words of wisdom for young people. I highly recommend it.

tammikuu 30, 2012, 10:46pm

After reading the short story, "A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune", by Chris Crutcher, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. I normally don't care very much for short stories, but this one was very enjoyable, very easy to relate to, and it had a deeper meaning than what was literally on the pages.

Angus has a very unique life. He is an obese teenager, he has 2 sets of homosexual parents, he is a great football player, he takes his anger out by physically beating people down, and he is slightly socially awkward. Angus has, as a joke, been elected as Senior Winter Ball King, and is extremely anxious about having to dance with his long-time crush, Melissa, who is the Senior Winter Ball Queen. The night of the ball doesn't start out very well for Angus, but as the night goes on, events begin to unfold and you realize that things are not exactly what they seems.

This story displays bullying, fighting, betrayal, and surprise. Angus wasn't part of the "it crowd". They teased him and made fun of him. It was even them that had gotten him elected Senior Winter Ball King in the first place because they thought it would be hilarious. All of this bullying led to Angus retaliating by fighting them. You'll have to read the story yourself to find out about the other two things that I mentioned...I wouldn't want to ruin it for anyone!

Crutcher did an amazing job, when writing this story, or keeping in mind who would be reading it. Any student from probably the 6th grade and up will be able to relate to this story in more way than one. It doesn't matter if the student has weird parents, or is bullied at school, or the one doing the bullying, or even the geeky kid with the crush on the girl he knows he will never have, every single student that reads this short story will find some way to relate to it. I want to teach 11th grade, and even at that age, I would definitely use this short story in my classroom.