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Sharon Draper discusses very mature content in the novel Forged By Fire. There are many important issues that are relevant to the story, but child abuse is by far the most vital in the novel. I will be studying how many cases of child abuse are dealt with yearly in Ohio, as well as the United States. The two main characters in the novel come face-to-face with child abuse on many occasions. I chose this topic because it appears in the novel multiple times, and I believe that it is the most meaningful topic in the novel.

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        Child abuse is when a parent, or guardian causes an injury, or death to a child.(https://www.childhelp.org/child-abuse/) Some examples of child abuse are, neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse and verbal abuse. In America every year, there are 3 million reported cases of child abuse. (https://www.childhelp.org/child-abuse/).

In Ohio, there are over 78,000 children being abused yearly. (http://www.cleveland.

com/healthfit/index.ssf/2014/12/in_ohio_more_than_78000_kids_e.html) I believe that child abuse occurs from the lack of parenting skills, stress, and depression/anxiety. Child abuse happens to kids around the world, and nobody understand the pain that these children are going through. Everyone has different experiences,whether it be verbal or physical it can still scar that child for life.           In the novel Forged By Fire, Gerald and Angel confronted child abuse on multiple occasions. In chapter one of the novel, we find a poor little boy who is mistreated, and uncared for. We find out that he has a heavy load in his pants that had been there all day as a punishment.

A bit later in the chapter we also find out that poor little Gerald has a terrible burn on his hand from Mama’s lighter. He thought that his hand was roasting like Mama’s dinner. Monique, Gerald’s mother, had left Gerald alone one day and came back to a fiery pit. The apartment had become nothing but ruins.    Angel also experience much discomfort in her life.

Jordan, Angel’s so called “father”, had been abusing and molesting her for a long period of time. Angel was never comfortable in her skin, or around Jordan. Jordan had sexual contact with Angel on multiple occasions which left her in harsh times. She thought she could never smile while she was under Jordan’s wing, until Gerald came along. When Aunt Queen had passed away Gerald was sent to live with his abusive step father, and recovering abusive mother.   There were many characters involved in this situation.

Some include Gerald, Angel, Monique, Jordan, and Mr. Washington. Mr. Washington had helped Gerald and Angel to catch Jordan. The topic that I researched is very common in Ohio, and the United States. 2.6% of all the United States total of child abuse, comes from Ohio. The characters all reacted as they should.

If this were to happen to any child, you should always tell an adult you trust. They will hopefully take matters into their own hands and call the police, and report the incident. What Gerald and Mr. Washington had done was the right thing to protect Angel.    The novel handled the issue in a mature manner, by having Mr. Washington as somebody Gerald and Angel could trust. The way the issue was in the book felt very realistic, as well as very detailed.

I feel as though this was a real case thrusted upon us. The way that Dr. Draper included details makes me think that she has been in a similar situation. Gerald had handled the situation just like any over-protective brother would.  On page 51 of the PDF, Gerald states “This was never a happy family while he was here, Monique.

Your memory don’t work so good, it seems.” (Draper, Sharon M. Forged by Fire. New York: Atheneum for Young Readers, 1998. Print.) Gerald is stating that Angel, Monique, and Gerald were much happier knowing that Jordan had been behind bars. Now with him lose, Gerald doesn’t trust him, not one bit.

After knowing what that monster had done to his joy and pride, he could never trust Jordan Sparks ever again. On page 69 of the PDF, Angel and Jordan state “Can’t nobody hear you!” Jordan snarled as he moved in front of the door and locked it. “It’s just me and you.” He grabbed her again, both arms this time, and dragged her, kicking and screaming, toward her bedroom. “You can’t do this!” she cried. “I’m only thirteen! I’m your daughter! How can you do this to me! NO! STOP!”(Draper, Sharon M. Forged by Fire. New York: Atheneum for Young Readers, 1998.

Print.) This proves that Jordan had been playing an act,and hasn’t changed at all.  Forged By Fire is a very heavy and deep novel. It has very mature content that I believe should be taught to children, in case anything like this ever happens to themselves or anyone they know. I think that child abuse is a very significant matter that occurs a lot lately.

We need to find ways to protect our children from predators, and parents themselves. Child abuse is a terrible thing that nobody should go through alone.


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