It may not be often where you get to your breaking point. No thinking involved, just swinging fists and yelling out curses. Percy is well familiar with the concept.
Percy consistently shows trouble managing his emotions, from unknowingly shoving Nancy Bobofit into a fountain (P9), to calling his teacher an “old sot” on page seventeen. He has a bad reputation for snapping so often, leading to poor self- confidence and a mind for getting expelled.
Percy’s inability to manage his emotions is a huge issue, even leading to other problems (such as poor –relationships with peers). Even little things, like getting mad over Nancy Bobofit’s snickering, can lead to a huge chain effect of poor results. Percy’s anger escalates the problem. Thus, he gets expelled so often as per this lack of control.
Not many seem willing to do much about this- even Percy, who appears resigned to his feeble mindset. We can infer that he has tried to get help before (from when he says, “I tried to stay cool, the school counselor had told me a million times.”). Unfortunately, it just didn’t work out. But that doesn’t mean you’re to give up. It has, and will, affect him in the long run. When Percy gets frustrated and says something unconventional, he immediately regrets it. We can figure this out from when on page 39, he says ““Because you don’t want me around?” I regretted the words as soon as they were out.” If Percy continues to allow his emotions to control him, more interactions like these will happen, and he will be left friendless.
His bad attitude also sours his behavior towards school. When he thinks of school, he associates it with getting told off and getting expelled. Now, why is he getting expelled? Because of his poor emotion control. He’s gotten expelled from many schools, and just got expelled from Yancy, too. He got expelled this time for, again, acting poorly. If he had controlled his emotions and, well, not gotten expelled again, it’d likely lighten his attitude towards school. A good attitude means you feel more eager to do well, and thus, he’d probably get better grades. So many of the issues in Percy’s “short, miserable life” (Page 2) are in relation to the exact topic of his poor emotions.
Strategies and Benefits
The Ted-Ed talk “3 Tips to Boost Your Self-Confidence” has no biases and offers tips to help alter your mindset. It says, “you can turn your thoughts into actions”. This shows that Percy, if taken the time and dedication, would be able to help himself. He appears to blame all his faults on his ADHD and Dyslexia, and yet the article ‘ADHD and Neurodiversity’, written by Karen Bush Gibson, talks about how it’s not their fault, and perhaps society just needs to change the way they look at ADHD.
Percy could just remind himself of his need to control emotions. If not him, then maybe a trusted guardian could help, like his mom or Mr. Brunner. A fidget may help him get his anger out as well. Being separated from people who provoke him to snap (such as Nancy Bobofit) would be of benefit, too.
An upside of Percy learning emotional management would be more positive relationships. As of now, he only has his mom, Grover, and Mr. Brunner. But if he was able to keep his emotions in check, people wouldn’t look down on him. As we’ve seen, Percy is protective of his friends (like on page 24, where he says “All year long, I’d gotten into fights keeping bullies away from him. I’d lost sleep worrying that he’d get beaten up next year without me.”), and if he wasn’t so easily provoked, maybe people would see that as a positive character trait rather than a negative one. Not to mention that, as aforementioned, being well-liked would improve his attitude towards school, thus inspiring him to study and get better grades. All of this would lead to higher self-confidence. And so, we know that if Percy learned emotional management, nearly all his issues would be solved.
In conclusion, we can assume that Percy’s lack of emotional control is a primary reason as to why his gradual downfall occurred. Overall, if he fixed this singular problem, then he’d have more friends, would even like school, and have higher self-esteem.