| Quote #1
The way he could dazzle you with his brilliance […] and the way he could disgust you with his cruelties, those strange offbeat cruelties of his, that had nothing to do with pain or violence but were somehow even worse. (2.16)
Obie is suggesting that psychological violence is worse than physical violence. Is one worse than the other? Why, or why not?
| Quote #2
He could hold your attention like a cobra. Instead of fangs, he used his teacher's pointer, flicking out here, there, everywhere. (4.11)
In the 1970s, teachers still had legal power to use physical violence in the classroom. Leon makes the most of this, using the pointer to keep his students in a constant state of fear.
| Quote #3
[Brother Leon:] "You're a cheat, Bailey. And a liar." The words like whips. (6.47)
We all know that words are some heavy-duty weapons. Bailey defends himself, but he doesn't strike back at Leon's accusations.