Study Guide

Darla Pilsudski in Tales of the Madman Underground

By John Barnes

Darla Pilsudski

Move over, Daria Morgendorffer. Take a seat, Luna Lovegood. Jessica Day, there's another New Girl in town, and it's not you. Face it, girls—you may be quirky, bizarre, and downright scary at times, but you're nothing compared to Lightsburg High's Resident Weird Girl, Darla. Actually, she's not just weird—in Karl's words, she's "super-intense and super-smart and ultra-beyond-super-weird" (3.19). If you didn't think it was possible for a girl to wear tight leotards and glasses, carry a stuffed rabbit, and still be sexy as all get out, prepare to totally reevaluate your expectations.

Darla is a trendsetter of sorts, always reading the hot books and listening to the future hits of tomorrow when they are still under the radar. But, the defining characteristic of her personality, beyond her "hooker-blonde" hair, "sprayed-on jeans, and huge, clunky heels" (3.19) is her stuffed bunny, Mr. Babbitt, whom she carries with her everywhere and talks to like he's an actual person. Usually, she makes him say a lot of sexually oriented, borderline-inappropriate stuff; she calls him a "naughty bunny" and uses him as a vehicle to say obscene things about people.

While Darla mostly ends up in the Madman Underground for "being weird and obnoxious" (3.22), she has a lot of issues with self-mutilation and abuse. Not taking abuse from someone else but giving it to her younger brother, Logan, who was taken away from her family after she threatened to pour Drano in his eyes. Logan now lives with a hillbilly foster family in Lima and refuses to come home, which hurts Darla more than she'd like to admit.

Ultimately, though, Darla has high hopes for her future—mainly, doing a lot of insane things in high school so she can be legendary when she arrives at college. "I'm not going out into the world as Little Missy Good Grades from Lightsburg, Ohio," she tells Karl after their ill-fated attempt to kill a cat and have sex. "I'm going as the wildest most interesting b**** they've ever met" (23.40). We'll spare you the details of all the stories Darla has accumulated thus far, mainly because reading them in the book was probably traumatic enough for you.