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The Psychological Damage Caused by Sexual Abuse and Rape in Someone Else, an Essay by Chris Offutt

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Chris Offutt’s essay, “Someone Else,” is intelligently constructed and simply captivating. The story entertains and sympathizes with the readers yet ultimately informs the public of psychological damage resulting from sexual abuse and rape. Though this story is written to satisfaction, we as the audience only know what the author wants to tell us. Meaning there is purpose and reason behind every word and sentence he chose for this essay. Offutt utilizes the storytelling technique of chronological order to convey his growth from this situation. He also uses the tone of denial and submission as the theme to formulate an effective essay.

When you break the essay down it’s actually the author giving excuses and rationalizations to help cope with the tragedy that was once upon him as a child. A few of his excuses consist of, “The fatman listened to me,” “He accepted [me],” and, “I felt important [because of him]” (140, 142). Yet is there really any way to rationalize or excuse rape?

The use of the chronological order of events is very important to the efficiency of the essay. The fact that Offutt chose to introduce his essay with focusing on his parents, whom are irrelevant to the actual sexual abuse story, is striking. The reason, it leads to a much bigger picture of the story. It describes his absence of parents and lack of love which created this submissive monster within a young, naive boy. This later came to haunt him, as his submissive character carried on into the bedroom of the “fatman.” The authors implied curiosity of why he was even hanging out with this older man in the first place was rhetorically answered through his own style of writing. He was associating himself with this man because it filled the role of a loving friend or parent and he was already conditioned to be submissive to abusive relationships.

The fact that the author refers to the rapist as the “fatman” and never cares to give a description or even the most basic information, his name, is thought-provoking. The lost identity of the “fatman” forms another trend of submissive behavior the author later came to terms with. He really shows how submissive he was when he admits to creating this intricate dream to escape his tragic reality. “I’d developed the ability to go rapidly, to vanish from the circumstances and enter a trancelike state in which I was a prince with a personal garrison at my command, a lavish kingdom to rule, and a harem of lovely women” (142). Here, we see once again that the author is Someone Else fighting to figure out what’s right and wrong, and who he really is.

Though the author just like every other adolescent in the world can’t pinpoint who they are, he effectively evoked the tone of denial for the entirety of the essay. Every word adds to the tone from beginning to end. Therefore why he was always acting submissive because he never came to terms with his harsh reality. He writes from his juvenile perspective which is why the denial of the situation is so obvious. Him not referring to the “fatman” with a name or even a vague description represents his denial and his ignorance of the truth. His ability to create an alternative reality where he’s a prince with beautiful women is also apart of his denial by running from what had happened. Though the entire story is told from Offutts view of denial it soon evolves into acceptance and realization by the end of the essay.

The reason this essay is so good and chosen by John Sullivan as one of, “The Best American Essays,” is because it tells a story, a very well written story, in which most people would sympathize with. Yet, the most intriguing aspect of this whole story is that we see the author mature and age about fifty years within four easy pages of reading. And that process of growth is remarkable within the last paragraph. Yet, he doesn’t completely sum up his emotions, he states, “I also knew I should find it in myself to forgive him, an act which would ultimately benefit me. But I couldn’t do it” (144). Offutt is admitting to his mistakes, misunderstandings, and is telling the audience that this happened, yes it was tragic but no he won’t ruin his life over it, at least the part of his life in which he can control. Offutt also implies that he has more learning, more growing, and more maturing to do. Through his own realizations he revealed this story for self relief and so that people are aware of the damaging psychological effects sexual abuse may have on someone even twenty-five years later when you’re another version of yourself, or Someone Else.

Remember: This is just a sample from a fellow student.

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The Psychological Damage Caused by Sexual Abuse and Rape in Someone Else, an Essay by Chris Offutt. (2018, September 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 22, 2021, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-psychological-damage-caused-by-sexual-abuse-and-rape-in-someone-else-an-essay-by-chris-offutt-2/
“The Psychological Damage Caused by Sexual Abuse and Rape in Someone Else, an Essay by Chris Offutt.” GradesFixer, 14 Sept. 2018, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-psychological-damage-caused-by-sexual-abuse-and-rape-in-someone-else-an-essay-by-chris-offutt-2/
The Psychological Damage Caused by Sexual Abuse and Rape in Someone Else, an Essay by Chris Offutt. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-psychological-damage-caused-by-sexual-abuse-and-rape-in-someone-else-an-essay-by-chris-offutt-2/> [Accessed 22 Oct. 2021].
The Psychological Damage Caused by Sexual Abuse and Rape in Someone Else, an Essay by Chris Offutt [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 Sept 14 [cited 2021 Oct 22]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-psychological-damage-caused-by-sexual-abuse-and-rape-in-someone-else-an-essay-by-chris-offutt-2/
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