Scared by Anthony Horowitz
In Scared by Anthony Horowitz we have the theme of isolation, bullying, bribery, selfishness, struggle and hate. Taken from his collection of the same name it becomes clear to the reader after reading the story that Horowitz may be exploring the theme of isolation. Pye Hall is isolated from everywhere else and Gary doesn’t like it. He much prefers the city where he can torment and bully his classmates. If anything Gary hates the country side as he finds there is nothing to do. This is in contrast to his grandmother and mother who like Pye Hall and the countryside. They see the benefits of living in the country. Apart from his mother (and grandmother) Gary has nobody else in his life and some critics might suggest that the loss of his father has contributed to Gary’s attitude towards others. However he never really liked his father as his father controlled the home. A role that Gary is glad to take over. Though he bullies his mother into submission by her way of bribing him to do things.
If anything Gary is not a pleasant character who thinks only of himself and his own enjoyment. He is selfish. He disrespects both his mother and his grandmother and they just seem to accept Gary for who he is, a thug. Which must be difficult for Gary’s mum as she has to live with him and be at his beck and call. In fact there is no male figure in Gary’s life and his mother struggles, by working a job, to look after Gary. He has free reign over his mother and the family home. This might explain why he does not like going to his grandmother’s as the rules may be different. Regardless of the rules that might be in place. Gary hates his environment.
There may be some symbolism in the story which might be important. The route that Gary takes when he is lost is full of obstacles and in many ways this mirrors the obstacles, by being a bully, that Gary has placed on his life. The grandmother though only briefly mentioned acts as a foil to Gary. She is the complete opposite to Gary and cares for people. Her daughter being an example. The wasp that follows Gary acts as foreshadowing and when the wasp stings Gary it is an indication that something bad may happen to Gary. Similarly when he twists his ankle it stunts his journey not only physically but any hope of Gary changing is also stunted.
The end of the story is interesting as Gary dies in the field and is mistaken by others to be a scarecrow. Though some readers might lament Gary’s death there are some, who don’t see a redeeming quality in Gary, and will be glad. An obnoxious young boy who makes other people’s lives miserable has got his comeuppance. However this may be severe as the reader suspects that everybody has a redeeming quality even if it is difficult to see in Gary. Who knows how Gary might have reacted should he have made it home to his grandmother’s home. He was injured and both his grandmother and mother would have looked after him. If not sympathized with him. Which may be the cure that Gary needs. He may need others to think he is special and that there is no need for him to act as he does. The accident in the fields could have changed Gary’s outlook on life. Everybody has the ability to change.