Bless the Beasts and Children

by: Glendon Swarthout

Gerald Goodenow

Fourteen-year-old Goodenow has a complicated set of emotional problems. When Goodenow was four years old his father died, and consequently he developed an overly dependent relationship with his mother. In addition, he has a profound phobia of school. His sensitive, artistic temperament makes it difficult for him to make friends, particularly at Box Canyon Boys Camp, where athletics and physical strength determine status. However, Goodenow becomes a dynamic character as a result of the support of the other Bedwetters. In a supportive group setting he gains confidence in his abilities and begins to take initiative during their mission, volunteering to help in many different ventures. He also introduces "bump time," a huddle-like ritual, to the rest of the group. This ritual offers comfort and togetherness in several difficult instances.