With loss comes maturity. I believe that you become stronger when you experience a death of a loved one. The death of a loved one can affect someone and their childhood and can force them to grow up at a young age. The main character Arnold attended 42 funerals in his life, and with each funeral he became just a little bit stronger and a little bit more mature. Although Arnold is only 14 years old he is confronted with the death of his loved ones over and over again. For Arnold, death is pretty much normal and it comes knocking on his family's door time after time. In the story Arnold finds that death is a hard thing to cope with, even though his emotions are senseless. All the deaths Arnold was confronted with was because of poverty or alcoholism.
After Arnold experiences the tragic event of his grandma's death he becomes glum and depressed. Arnold's grandma was one of his favorite people, he talks to her about all of his issues and she gives him the best advice; she was his go-to girl. He trusted his grandma and since he and Rowdy aren't friends anymore his grandma was really the only person he would go to, to talk about his problems and get advice. Now that she has passed away he feels alone and angry. Arnold was very angry because she got killed by a drunk driver. He talks about wanting to beat this driver up. "I think my dad wanted to go find the driver and beat him up. I think I would have helped too." Arnold even says "I was so depressed that I thought about dropping out of Reardan." But he didn't, his grandma's death made him more confident in himself and made him wiser. I had an experience similar to Arnold but not exactly the same reaction as he had. When my grandma died I didn't feel the anger that Arnold explains but I was upset. In Arnold's situation I probably would've been angry too but in the situation with my grandma she didn't die from another person's mistake, she was just old and not really healthy. My grandma dying was a difficult moment for me like it was for Arnold, it made me very sad but I never came to the point of being depressed like Arnold was.
Eugene, Arnold's dad's best friend - an alcoholic, got shot in the face. Eugene's death affects Arnold's life and makes Arnold think and look at the world in a different perspective. Eugene had a large impact on Arnold's life. He was sorta of like a mentor to Arnold, he wasn't always their when Arnold needed him but he was sometimes. Eugene would always stand up for him and help him with academics. Whenever Arnold's with Eugene he feels respected, I guess now that he's gone Arnold feels like a tiny ant that everyone steps on, but he changed after a while, he demanded respect and he showed that to his classmates by the way he speaks ( he speaks like he's more confident in himself .) I guess you could say that Eugene was his idol and he wanted to be like him - brave and confident and that's what he accomplished by the end of the book.
When his sister Mary passed away he was feeling the same way as he did for his grandma's death. He was angry and pissed because Mary died because she was having a party and everyone was too busy drinking/ getting drunk to notice that a fire has started in the trailer. They both died of alcoholism. His sister eloped and moved to Montana because she felt trapped in her basement and she wanted to do something with her life, so she moved to Montana and got married. Arnold is a scrape goat. Mary's death affected Arnold because he felt guilty and everyone was blaming him for her death because when Arnold left the reservation she felt she needed to leave too. He doesn't know how to react to his sister's death, he feels like "every planet in [his] solar system has exploded."
Death may be a part of life but senseless deaths and preventable deaths such as deaths caused by poverty or alcoholism are the biggest tragedy. Even though we face lots of deaths in our lives we must find the joy in our life and move on. Death can affect someone and their childhood, it can affect them in bad ways and good ways, in this story Arnold's losses affected him in both good and bad ways, both good and bad ways changed him in the person he is today- a strong, independent and confident young man.