Study Guide

Dana Matherson in Hoot

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Dana Matherson

Oh, Dana. Why do you have to be a jerk of such immense proportions? Dana is the king bully at Trace Middle School…in addition to being a "well-known idiot" (1.13).

Not the greatest claim to fame, but we think he deserves it. Plus he pretty much earns the title: he's not smart enough to not mess with Roy. Every time he does, something always backfires for him. Roy even brings this little tidbit to Dana's attention and he still doesn't get it. Roy must have knocked common sense right out of Dana's head when he socked the bully on the bus.

But then again, Dana's brute and thuggish demeanor might be in his genes. Roy and Mrs. Eberhardt witness the interesting relationship that Dana has with his mother. And to be honest, it's not one we envy.

Dana might feel like he needs to bully other kids because he kinda gets bullied by his own mom. The two wrestle over Roy's apology letter and Mrs. Matherson laughs at the fact that someone as tiny as Roy punched Dana in the face.

But don't feel too much sympathy for Dana, because he has essentially no redeeming qualities. He beats up on little kids, he's dumb as a doornail, and his "breath smells like stale cigarettes" (1.14). Yum.

Roy uses his weakness for ciggies to lure Dana—like a moth to a flaming cigarette—onto the construction site. Another point for Roy.

However, Dana does prove to be useful when Mullet Fingers is escaping from juvenile detention. By making it seem like they're going to break out together, Mullet Fingers uses the "sluggish and sore-footed" Dana to distract the guards while he escapes alone (Epilogue. 31).

So Dana actually is good for something: being the scapegoat. That's pretty ironic, given that he used to love scapegoating (and giving the beat-down to) helpless kids at school.

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