8th Grade Fitz English
Viking Warrior Analysis
“And it’s a beautiful sight.
And almost as striking as 12 boys
six weeks later—now with crew cuts--
on a Saturday morning,
standing outside the synagogue
with heads bowed, holding hands
and standing in a circle
around the smoldering remains
of a miniature Viking ship,
which they have set on fire,
the soul of the brave warrior
rising slowly with the smoke.”
[The Viking Warrior, Stanza 13]
Solidarity gives strength in hard times. In the poem, Brave Seventh Grade Viking Warrior, by Taylor Mali, A seventh grade kid named Tony Stienberg dies of cancer, while his class comes together in solidarity to support Tony and help themselves deal with his death. The entire seventh grade class of boys support him by shaving their heads in an act of solidarity. When Tony comes back to school he finds that he is not the only person who is bald. All the other boys in Mr. Mali’s history class had shaved the heads in an act of solidarity. This was an extra unique scene that the teacher had never seen before. Until that very moment.
Totally bald in a jacket and tie on Friday morning— and I don’t just mean Tony Steinberg— not one single boy in my class had hair that day; the other 12 had all shaved their heads in solidarity.
Have you ever seen 13 bald-headed seventh grade boys, all pointing at each other, all staring, all laughing? I have.
[The Viking Warrior Stanza 12]
Mali effectively creates a scene where Tony’s friends are bald because they shaved their heads for Tony. We don’t know how Tony felt because the author never told us in the poem. However, we do know that the teacher was moved by the solidarity that Tony’s friends showed when they shaved their heads because he referred to it as a beautiful sight. “Have you ever seen 13 bald-headed seventh grade boys,
all pointing at each other, all staring, all laughing? I have. And it’s a beautiful sight.”
Tony’s friends went through a tough situation. They had to witness their friend in such terrible conditions as he was going through cancer. They decided to shave their heads in solidarity to support themselves and Tony throughout this hard time.