Bullying, Michael Vey and Prison Life
In Richard Paul Evans’ Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25, no one likes Nichelle, and it is easy to see why. She is a power abusing and power sucking vampire who enjoys inflicting pain. She gains her self-esteem through the pain of others not unlike any other bully ever. She enjoys the pain she inflicts, and she inflicts as much as she is allowed to inflict, which is as much as her guardian tells her she can.
Since Nichelle is used to control the other gifted children in the book, she has no friends. Her lot is the same as theirs, but no one can see it. Of course, since the book is dealing with young teenagers, this isn’t surprising. Anyone who has been picked on by a bully knows that the relationship doesn’t end like an Afternoon Special.
However, the best thing that a new person could do in this type of prison atmosphere is to cozy up to the person who doesn’t have any friends, especially when that person can control the amount of punishment that prisoners receive. People especially teens, who are not liked by their peers and only used by others, will be reluctant at first, but the moment that a person breaks through the emotional barriers is the moment when that bully sees another person and not another obstacle to happiness.
Vey had already dealt with bullies by using his power to coerce them into helping him. After a road trip and a baring of souls, the bullies became a part of the team, and they all became friends. The circumstances that created the bullies in his school are the same ones that Nichelle faces, except that her parent has specifically raised her to be the way she is. For the other bullies, they were the product of their home lives, which while terrible, did not actually focus on creating evil human beings.
It may be that Nichelle is too far gone, that her love of power has already overwhelmed her conscience, but at her young age, chances are Vey and his friends could have made a powerful friend and ally rather than releasing an enemy, who can still be recruited to either side, into the world. Offering the hand of friendship when death was expected might have been enough to turn the tables for Nichelle.
The only questions that remain are “Will Nichelle come back to haunt Vey and his team?” and “Will Vey realize his mistake and step up to become the better person, a person who harbors forgiveness and thus saves Nichelle along with the rest of the electric children?” To find out, I’ll have to read the next in the series. Take the poll below.