The narrator of Paperboy
, by Vince Vawter, avoids telling us his name until the final pages of the novel. He does not withhold his name because he's in hiding, or because he's being coy. It is simply because it is too difficult for him to say, due to a stuttering affliction. Throughout this story set in 1959 Memphis, he refers to himself only as Little Man, a nickname given to him by Mam, the live-in housekeeper in his white household.
He has an important story to tell, one he's still making sense of. He's been through a summer of growth and change. He's seen new things and gained insights and understanding of the world around him. Little Man needs to type out his story, for, as he explains, "I need to see the words on paper to make sure everything happened the way my brain remembers it. I trust words on paper a lot more than words in the...
Beyond the Book
The author's note at the end of Paperboy
recounts his own struggles with stuttering. He admits this story is largely autobiographical, which makes Little Man's description of his stuttering that much more poignant:
"The reason I hate talking to people who don't know me is because when they first see me I look like every other kid. Two eyes. Two arms. Two legs. Crew-cut hair. Nothing special. But when I open my mouth I turn into something else. Most people don't take the time to understand what's wrong with me and probably just figure I'm not right in the head"
Stuttering can manifest in the repetition or elongation of a particular sound, or in a complete stoppage of speech. The cause of stuttering, also sometimes referred to as...