Do Some Damage discussion

PIKE by Benjamin Whitmer > Pike vs Derrick **SPOILER**

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message 1: by Steve (new)

Steve Weddle (steveweddle) | 54 comments Mod
So did anyone else start siding with Derrick? By the end of the book, were you understanding him in a different way? I mean, no one in here is a "good guy," in the white-hat sense, but did your opinion of Derrick change in the last third or so of the book?

message 2: by Steve (new)

Steve Weddle (steveweddle) | 54 comments Mod
Right. I don't know if it's the point at which he goes to the barn to make those two teenage boys molest each other, but that might be it. And then working things out with the preacher a little later. Makes it much more poignant when he sees Rory with Wendy.

message 3: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Funk | 19 comments Derrick's relationship with the reader seems to me to be the reverse of the protagonist: We're set up not to like him, then most of the book gives us grounds to like him. At the climax, since he serves as the antagonist, grounds for making us comfortable with his ending are established through what he does to Rory. Much like Chris noted, I was left with the emotional urge to stop him - since I liked him - from doing what he did. And once he did it, I was alright with his conclusion. It did a great job of not only adding character dimensions to him, but also adding dimensions to the reader's relationship with him. That way, the story could have both protagonist and antagonist, while not casting anyone as a through-and-through villain.

message 4: by Stephen (new)

Stephen (stephen_blackmoore) My opinion of Derrick changed in that I could understand a little more of why he did what he did and that he had touches of humanity that fleshed out the character.

He was much more real to me after those scenes. He wasn't evil, he was self-righteous, which made him far more compelling than if those touches hadn't been there.

And though I could understand the character better, I couldn't sympathize with him. He was still an asshole.

message 5: by John (new)

John (tirbd) I would agree with Naomi that Wendy is far and away the most sympathetic character here. And, like Stephen, I found that Derrick's motivations, as they are revealed throughout the course of the book, certainly explain his actions, but it's hard to feel anything but contempt for someone who goes to those lengths in the name of so-called justice. I might feel differently if not for his treatment of Fleischer, the union rep (if I read things right). Being angry at the guy is one thing; beating him to a pulp in his front yard is another.

Of course, by this point Derrick has given up and headed full-bore into the death spiral, so reason and rationality obviously had been chucked out the window.

message 6: by Bill (new)

Bill | 1 comments Just finished the book last night, so I'm late to the party, as usual. I agree with Naomi about Derrick. He might justify what he's doing to himself, but he's still a stone killer. Even if those kids deserved punishment, he's not the final arbiter of what it should be. Some of his other actions just plain don't seem justified at all.

message 7: by Ron (new)

Ron (ronearlphillips) | 18 comments Neither Pike or Derrick had any redemption at the end. Their motivations clouded by years of bad choices and violent lives. I understood them more towards the end but garnered no sympathy. The only difference between the two is Derrick thought he was a good man who did bad things and Pike knew he was a bad man who wanted to do something good.

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