A Child Called It Chapter 4 - The Fight for Food Summary

As the title indicates, this chapter focuses on David's food deprivation; how he struggled to survive his mother's torture and how he fought to find some strength and hope. David loved school, but as he got older he was shunned by everyone. His mother made him wear the same clothes day after day, so he smelled bad. He also took to stealing food, which made the other kids angry. At first his mother "forgets" to feed him dinner, and David dreams vividly about food. When the kids at school caught on to who was stealing their food, the principal called home. This led to more beatings and less food. His mother began to feed him less and degraded him to the level of calling him "the boy," making him feel like he was not a part of the family. He saw himself as the family servant; it is unclear why he is singled out from his brothers. Everyday he is forced to stand (sitting was not allowed) in the basement while the family ate meals and went about their routine. At first, David's father was sneaking him bits of food, but as the fighting between his parents got worse, he stopped sticking up for David completely. Catherine got to the point that she didn't hide her abusive behavior from her husband and kids. David was blamed for their fights, and was beaten even more when his dad walked out. A teacher, Miss Moss, took an interest in David. This led to phone call home and a bloody nose and one less tooth. After meeting with administration, Catherine boasted about making the people at school think David hurt himself. On vacation this year she called them to come inside because they were making too much noise. The boys left to go on a slide with father; David was punished. He was made to sit while she smeared a full diaper all over his face. Then she smashed his face in a second diaper and told him to eat it. At school, David was plotting to steal food any way he could. At one point he stole from a store, instead of going to recess, and placed the food he took at the bottom of the garbage can in the boys' restroom. When he came back to get it, the food was gone because the janitor emptied the can. When David's mother suspected he was stealing food again, she shoved her finger down his throat to make him vomit. Then she forced him to eat what he regurgitated. Her next punishment was spoons full of ammonia and bleach.

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