Misfits In The Running Man

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The Running Man by Michael Bauer demonstrates the experiences of marginalising and ‘putting people in boxes’ through the lives of multiple characters in the book. The characters that interpret this idea effectively are Tom Leyton and Joseph Davidson. An outsider is an individual that is often misunderstood, and are considered misfits that are excluded and experience isolation. They are faced with prejudice and the harsh judgement and negative perception from the community. In this novel, Michael Bauer traverses these ideas through his use of characterisation, narrative elements/structure, as well as key imagery and the use of motifs.

Outsiders are individuals that are often misunderstood. Tom Leyton, a Vietnam war vet has been the centre of
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Tom Leyton, a Vietnam war veteran came home a broken man. After the atrocities in the war he has not been the same person and has become the centre of exclusion within the community. Every day and every night Tom Leyton stays cooped up at home looking after the silkworms, “they are born, they live and they die”. Tom Leyton tells Joseph this and this is what Tom believes life is all about, nothing. Being so secluded has led to certain individuals spreading rumours. People believe that he is an evil man capable of bad things and that you should avoid him at every cost, but of course this is not the case. Toms true story is only revealed through Josephs visits for his portrait. But as their relationship grows, its more than the portraits that draw them closer. Tom Leyton is isolated within himself, within his own cocoon of fear of the opinions and views of people. Joseph however is isolated within his anger and inquisitiveness. His anger toward his father not being home causes him to ask why must his father want to go too far away locations to do his job and why must he leave him and his mother to fend for themselves. As a result of this, Joseph has to sometimes tag along with other families and become ‘that boy’ that is singled out from the others. Tom and Joseph are both foreigners who draw themselves together and reveal the pain and isolation that haunt them within through their stories and time that …show more content…
Through the stories of Tom Leyton, we learn that his troubled past causes him to be a centre of gossip. Mrs Mossop, a secondary character in the novel is a prime example of the judgement that Tom has to face. She tells people that the Leyton’s are bad or different people that are dangerous or not seen for the monsters that they are. This gossip creates fear in the community and people tend to avoid Tom or at least stay away from him. Joseph Davidson also experiences prejudice in the fact that people don’t believe he knows what he’s got himself into. Tom’s past has led people to believe that Tom is a danger to Joseph and that he should stay away.

Michael Bauer’s novel The Running Man has shown us the experiences of outsiders in society and the effects this has on people. Through Tom Leyton and Joseph Davidson we learn that outsiders can bring out the good in each-other and can help them escape their cocoon and transform into different people. Even after times of hardship finding someone like yourself can help you become the true person you want to be. Being trapped in a cocoon can have negative effects on a person until they are brought out and can feel like a normal person once

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