Getting It On: Psychological Manipulation in Richard Bachman’s
Richard Bachman’s novel ‘Rage’ narrates a story of a student called ‘Decker’. Decker is an undisciplined student. His first case of indiscipline is witnessed when he uses a pipe wrench to strike his chemistry teacher. The strike causes damage to the teacher’s head and leads to the hospitalization of the teacher. As a result of the indiscipline, Decker is summoned by the school principle to answer for his action. Instead of showing remorse, he proceeds to issueinsulting remarks to the principle. This causes him to be expelled. He storms out of the principal’s office and then heads straight to his locker. In the locker, he removes a pistol and then sets the things inside the locker on fire. After that, he returns in the classroom and finds Miss Jean Underwood, who his algebra teacher teaching. Because of rage from the previous unfolding, he shoots her. The gunshot raises an alarm but he orders his classmates to remain in the classroom. Decker is raged to the extent that he kills his history teacher when he tries to enter the classroom. The situation, which is already tense and big, attracts the police, media, and school authorities. Everyone tries to negotiate with him to cool down but refutes all the, please. Decker holds the class hostages and threatens to kill everyone in the classroom if they do not comply with him. During the course of the hostage, Decker manipulates his fellow students to do as he wishes.In the hostage process, Bachman analyzes psychological manipulation as a means to explain convectional thinking among students the influence it has on peers.
Bachman showcases how Decker designs a sympathetic conversation that is meant to gain attention and control of the other students. The conversation psychologically manipulates the students to the extent that they start engaging in conventional thinking. Psychological manipulation involves the use of deceptive tactics for the purpose of influencing the behavior and perception of people. Conventional thinking involves thinking in a usual and simplistic way.Bachman showcases convectional thinking due to psychological manipulation in the following ways.
To capture the student’sattention, Decker uses flashback to engage the students with his past life.He navigates them into his conflicting past with his parents and the tormenting memories that he had when he was a child. He narrates to them about this particular day when he woke up in the middle of the night and thought that he was dead. At the same time, he witnessed shadows that were moving toward the walls and ceiling of his room. With fear and horror starting to creep in, he peeped outside through the window and saw big old elm. The moon was full and the wind was blowing. The wind causes the tree branches to seem as if they were dancing in a horrific way. Decker proceeds to mention that the moonlight casts the shadows of the moving branches on the wall. He testifies that the shadows seemed as if they were fingers of a dead person dancing (Bachman, 28).Decker uses this story as the first means to attract attention and sympathy from the rest of the students. The story withdraws students from the fact that he had just instantly killed two teachers. Susan is one of the students who is aroused by the story. She seems fascinated and engrossed by the story. There are radiance and a sense of excitement on her face. Decker testifies that ‘the rest of the students were staring at him as if they were expecting him to unleash a punchline of terrific Joke’ (Bachman, 29). This story is successful in pulling a deceptive scheme. Thus, it is the first tactic that Decker uses to gain the student’s control.
To further psychologically manipulate the students, Decker narrates how he had a bad relationship with his parents. He says that ‘my father has hated me as long as I can remember (Bachman, 43).Decker’s father was a complicated man. Most of the time when they were together, he always gave decker a hard time. He would sometimes force Decker to go outcamping and hunting. Decker thought that his father was doing all in order to masculinize him. He narrates to the students how he eavesdropped his father talking badly about women to his buddies. For instance, he heard his father says that ‘That’s what I want to know. What do you do about a woman who less lets someone in the backdoor?’ (Bachman, 44). Also, his father is quoted saying ‘The knife that I use for hunting has transformed into a spear. The idea is that the Cherokees use the knife to slit women’s noses. The reason to do so is that so they can put a cunt on their faces for everyone in the tribe to see the part that got them into trouble’ (Bachman, 45). Gossip is a thing that has existed for centuries and it is still common in modern society. Most people love to hear about gossip. Decker is telling a gossip that is enticing and hard to resist. By doing so, he manages to fully capture the attention of everyone in the classroom. He psychologically manipulates everyone into listening and relating to his story.
Conventional thinking comes about when the students are completely immersed in Decker’s personal life. A life that is filled with thrilling and horrific stories. His stories make makes the other students feel free. Ted, who is one of the students, gains gut to say that ‘I am going to grab that gun from you’ while smiling. He even goes further to crack a joke about whether Decker loved his balls or sucking (Bachman, 35). Sylvia is seen portraying predatory eyes, because of the sexual language that followed Teds joke.Convection behavior is also witnessed in this scene. The students feel free and start to engage in ordinary behavior while they are still in the presence of a person who had just instantly killed two teachers a few hours ago.
Psychology manipulation involves the use of a devious and exploitative trick. The manipulator advances his interests towards his victims through indirect and inceptive means. Decker tells his fellow students that ‘craziness is just a matter of degree. Besides, there is a significant number of students who want to roll their heads’ (Bachman, 48). He adds weight to the statement by narrating a story of how different people like to get crazy. He says that some people like to participate in stock car races, others are fascinated with watching horror movies while others get thrilled by watching wresting.His psychological manipulation causes Irma Bates to run with rage towards him. This makes Grace to shout at her with derogatory remarks. Irma then responds by calling her a slut (Bachman, 48). Convectional behavior and thinking are witnessed in Grace and Irma’s action and words.
In conclusion, Decker manages to psychologically manipulate his fellow students by holding them hostage in the classroom. He gains more control over them by narrating enticing stories of his childhood memories and ill relationship with his parents. The stories make the students forget that he had just killed two teachers a few minutes ago. More so, they make the students relatewith Decker by remembering and reflecting on their personal lives. Thus, in doing so, they feel free with Decker and start to engage in conventional thinking and behavior.
Bachman, Richard. Rage. EPDF.PUB, https://epdf.pub/rage571549f75fc95ea8d14deac629f507del3654.html
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