How Would YOU Feel?

The truth is, bullying impacts everyone

The text The Black Balloon depicts the social struggles that Charlie is confronted with in his life. Trying to fit in as a teenager is hard enough, but it may seem almost impossible when dealing with a mental condition. One of the obstacles that autistic teenager, Charlie, encounters is the repetitive bullying from his community, the local school boys and his very own brother, Thomas.


As the film commences, a scene that exhibits the bullying Charlie receives from his neighbourhood is when Charlie is playing in the backyard with sticks, making noises and a group of little boys around the ages of nine to eleven years ride by on their bikes and bluntly ask Thomas, "Why is your brother a spastic?" This indicates the immaturity of the boys and how uneducated they are as they react to laying eyes on an autistic boy on the street.

In addition to another scene that presents bullying towards Charlie by his community is when the neighbours report Charlie's behaivour to the Department of Youth and Community Services. This specific scene illustrates how the Mollison's neighbours are not observant and respectful to Charlie's mental condition and create complaints to the Department of Youth and Community Services so that Charlie can improve his demeanor.


As the text proceeds, we witness a scene where Charlie's school bus drives pass Thomas' school only to be slandered by callous teenage boys and have eggs thrown at them. Just when we thought the eggs were bad enough one of the boys yells out "its the spastic bus".This particular scene exemplifies how cold and insensitive the teenage boys are at Thomas' school and how unsympathetic they are to Charlie's circumstances and nature.

As the film text was set in the early 1990s, modern humanity nowadays have learnt to become more considerate and sympathetic of mental conditions such as autism. People of the 21st century are more respectful and educated about people struggling with autism and tend to be forgiving and generous which comfort those dealing with a mental impairment. In the early 1990's it was seem to be okay to call disabled people as "spastics" but as the years have gone by we have learnt to be more understanding and lenient.


Charlie's taciturn brother, Thomas, also bullies his own autistic brother. A diversity range of scenes that exemplifies Thomas bullying Charlie is when Thomas is seen reading the paper written by Charlie's school advertising the school play that Charlie will be featured it, Thomas displays his immaturity and in-sensitiveness by calling it "lame".

Another appropriate scene that illustrates Thomas bullying his own brother is when Jackie first shows up at the Mollison's household to return Charlie's monkey ears. Thomas is fearful that Charlie will embarrass him infront of Jackie, so Thomas drags Charlie out of the living room and locks him in a separate room, not aware what Charlie is capable of when he is left alone. By the time Thomas returns to Charlie, its already too late to fix the mess Charlie has created with his feces.

Throughout the film text, Thomas is relentlessly seen physically bullying Charlie for his instinctive behaviour that Charlie can not control. This illustrates how oblivious Thomas is in relation to Charlie's state.


Dea Veseli