The novel ‘BUTTER’ by Erin Lange is a story of a lonely obese adolescent in the harsh society of today. This novel highlights the issues today’s youth faces when using the internet in the harmful ways. An unfortunate encounter with his childhood bully causes the main character to indulge in a whole pound of butter, therefore earning him the nickname “Butter”. Butter doesn’t have many friends and spends a lot of time alone but he plans to turn this around and make history. “Watch as I eat myself to death – live on the internet – tune in if you can stomach it”.
One of the many ideas portrayed in ‘BUTTER’ is the multitude of problems arising with the internet. The ability to communicate instantly and universally creates many different social issues including 24/7 bullying and peer pressure. In the novel, Butter sets up his website stating that others could join in, comment and interact while he prepares to eat himself to death and by doing so he opens the gate to further and around the clock bullying and pressure. He was relentlessly insulted and even encouraged by his peers to commit suicide. Butter is one of the millions around the world suffering from the internet’s harmful effects. The world is evolving so fast that there is no time to establish effective boundaries and rules. Kids have grown up with parents telling them it’s bad to talk while eating, never to swear, to eat with proper manners but the world has overlooked the internet, the one sole thing with the worst effects. I have had personal events where I have been affected by the internet and the absence of guidance has played a big part in my life. The lack of limitations and extremely magnified reality in social media is also seen to have caused serious effects in the controversial TV series ’13 Reasons Why’. The main character ends up killing herself as a result of multiple extreme sources of bullying mainly prominent on social media.
I feel that I have connected with the character Butter as I too have been bullied about my appearance. In previous years of my schooling people used to call me names and make fun of skinny body as a joke at my expense. This helped me to feel emotionally connected to the situation that Butter was experiencing and this, in turn, caused me to be more engaged in the novel. Although I have only experienced bullying on a very minimal level the way the kids treated Butter and the way many other kids are treated across the world because of their genetic appearance or for any reason, changed my approach to how I interact online and with my peers.
The interpersonal connection I felt with Butter caused me to become more engaged and enhanced the experience. The relevant issues also are seen in the book began a changed lifelong approach to social media and how I interact with it.