Nineteen Minutes

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Peter Houghton, in Nineteen Minutes, is not really the average kid in a High School. He is picked on, called names, sent a personal e-mail he wrote to the whole school, shoved into lockers, and he even gets punched and kicked. His journey throughout the novel affects the theme and also characterization of this novel greatly. The theme in this book is somewhat of a drama but mainly a tragedy. A lot about Peter’s childhood to him becoming a young man in high school can help explain why it affects it.

Peter never intended to hurt anyone. The ten people he killed and nineteen others he injured didn’t happen because he decided to shoot and injure a bunch of random people one day. He was long provoked into what he had done. Ever since his very first day of kindergarten, Peter was abused and bullied daily. He never did anything to anyone. He was just as excited to go to school as the rest of the kids. So why does Peter become the one everyone picks on? He was just that one dorky kid with the glasses and freckles and for some reason, this look makes everyone pick on him.
At the start it was just his lunch box. Then as he got older and so did the other kids, they started making the bullying more physical. They began to beat him up and call him names like “homo” which he didn’t appreciate at all. They even almost got him to believe he was a “homo” at a point because he went to a meeting after school one day that talked about that kind of thing. He never went back because he knew that he wasn’t.
Because of Peter’s size and his smaller physic, he was not able to defend himself and fight back. He is forced to go to authorities for help but they just say what they all say. We will keep a look out for it and if it happens again we will take care of it. Of course they didn’t keep a look out so now he is back to where he was just accepting the bullying.
He is in High School now and nothing has changed. He is still bullied on a regular basis and teachers continue to do nothing. Now the only way he thinks the violence will stop is by bringing more violence into the situation. He creates a video game and the setting is in a High School. It is a game basically about the revenge of the nerds. What happens in the video game is eventually what happens in real life. He takes two of his father’s guns and two stolen guns into school one day. He sets off a bomb outside to distract everyone and before long, ten people wind up dead and nineteen more are now injured all in a matter of nineteen minutes.
At the end of the trial Peter is sentenced to eight straight first degree murder sentences and will not be coming out of the jail cell alive. He then does what any seventeen year old boy might do if you found this out. He stuck a sock in his mouth until it got hard to breathe. He then went into a deep sleep and had a dream that he was back on the school bus just like on the first day of kindergarten but there was no one to bully him and there wasn’t even a driver. He knew where he was going and he knew that’s where he wanted to be all along. In his dream he smiled and that was the end.
Peter won’t live to see another day but his actions in the past explain how his journey characterized his role in the book. This also fit in with the theme about the tragedy that day at Sterling High School. Sometimes what a person intends can come out completely wrong due to other peers actions. It could be one or a certain number of people affecting one’s life. It could just be one time or an infinite amount of times the person or persons do it to you. In this case it was many people throughout Peter’s life that affected what he had done. No matter what his intentions were before, they are now changed because of the actions others have chosen to make. They will never be able to take back what happened that day and neither will he. Maybe this story was inspiring to others to not make the same mistake and it could eventually save the lives of many or just one. Hopefully there won’t be many real life situations like the theme in this book.

Who knows what could happen in Nineteen Minutes?





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