The Bully by Paul Langan: Summary & Characters

The Bully by Paul Langan: Summary & Characters
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  • 0:04 Bullies
  • 0:24 The Victim: Darrell Mercer
  • 0:53 Darrell's Family
  • 1:31 The Bully: Tyray Hobbs
  • 2:01 Finding Strength
  • 3:05 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kelly Beaty

Kelly has taught fifth grade language arts and adult ESL. She has a master's degree in education and a graduate certificate in TESOL.

Paul Langan's book 'The Bully' is about a boy who gets picked on in his school and in his neighborhood. In this lesson, you will learn about this story, its characters, and what it can teach us about standing up to bullies.


Have kids ever been mean to you at school? Called you names? Laughed at you? Threatened to hurt or actually hurt you? Turned other kids against you? If so, you have experienced bullying. This kind of thing hurts us, both inside and out.

Bullies do mean things.

Paul Langan's book The Bully is a story about this subject.

The Victim: Darrell Mercer

Fifteen-year-old Darrell Mercer is the kind of guy who gets picked on. He is small for his age. His family doesn't have much money. He's a new kid, so he doesn't have a group of friends to look out for him. These things weren't problems in Philadelphia. There he had good friends - the kind of people who like you for who you really are inside.

Do you have good friends like this? If so, you understand how hard it would be to move away from them. This is what happens to Darrell in the summer before he starts high school.

Darrell's Family

Since Darrell's father died, his mother has had to work hard to make enough money for the family. Her brother (Darrell's Uncle Jason) offers her a good job in California. Darrell and his mother won't have to worry about how to pay their bills, but they will have to move to California.

Uncle Jason is not Darrell's favorite person. He always talks about how small Darrell is, as if a boy is only important if he can play sports. Uncle Jason offers to help make Darrell bigger and stronger, but Darrell wishes he would just leave him alone.

Uncle Jason's oldest son, Travis, bullies his younger brother, Nate, but his uncle is too busy bragging about his sons to notice.

The Bully: Tyray Hobbs

The real bully in this story is Tyray Hobbs. He is big, tall, and mean. He makes life miserable for Darrell both at school and in his neighborhood. Tyray calls Darrell names like 'chicken legs' and 'midget,' laughs at him, hurts him, takes away his clothing during P.E., and even threatens him with a knife. Even worse, he gets other students to join in.

Tyray forces Darrell to give him his lunch money every week - money that Darrell and his mother cannot afford to do without.

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