Monday, October 10, 2022

Persuasive Writing: A Letter to a Bully

In My Name is Hamburger, ten-year-old Trudie Hamburger is ashamed of her last name. Daniel Reynolds, the class bully, frequently reminds her that it means, “Chopped meat. Something a butcher grinds up.”  

My Name is Hamburger takes place in 1962 in the small southern town of Colburn. As the Jewish child of a German-speaking immigrant, Trudie stands out as different from her peers. When a Korean boy joins her class, she feels guilty, knowing negative attention has been diverted away from her and onto him. Trudie doesn’t like being a bystander any better than being a victim. She doesn’t know what to do.  

Only after a family crisis and the support of friends is Trudie able to stand up for herself.

Something people cook on the fourth of July,”

I answer. “An all-American food!”

Daniel blinks as if he can’t believe

someone like me, with a dad from somewhere else,

knows what Americans eat. But he doesn’t say more

because I got the last word today.

My name is Hamburger. An all-American food.

Writing Prompt: To stop a bully, it helps if both the victim and the bystander speak out. Write a persuasive letter from either the perspective of a person being bullied or a person watching cruel treatment. Express your emotions in the letter. Do you feel anger, fear, or hope that relationships could change? Can you share personal experiences or reasons why bullying behavior hurts all involved? Do you have the courage to try and persuade a bully to rethink his/her behavior?    

Jacqueline Jules

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