Spider Boys: The Effect of A Place for Development of Children’s Behaviour

 Spider Boys: The Effect of A Place for Development of Children’s Behaviour

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In this literary work, a place can have its own meaning for the main character, Kwang.

Each writer must have different ideas in each work. In a literary work, the setting is one of the intrinsic elements that is mostly highlighted by writers. It is just because the setting gives the clear information to the readers of an event or conflict that occurs.

And the setting, in a fictional world, sometimes has its own relevance to the situations or places in the real world. It could come from places that have been visited, feelings that have been felt, even events that have been experienced by the author during his lifetime.

Therefore, the connection of fiction with real life has its own uniqueness in each literary work for the author himself and for his readers. In addition, the setting of a story with real life turns out to affect the personality and psychology of a child.

Because at every places someone visits, especially children, has a lot of memory of things that have happened at that place and are recorded in their brain or in the subconscious which affects the behavioural and psychological development.

Spider Boys by Ming Cher are one of them. This Singaporean writer released a children’s literary book called Spider Boys which tells the story of the lives of street children who love spider battles in Singapore in the 1950s.

There is something that you need to know, when he was little, Ming Cher a person who lived in a slum and was poor and was a street child. As we can get in the introduction to Spider Boys, the story written by Ming Cher was intended to explain his previous life to the son of Ming Cher.

In his literary work, a place can have its own meaning for the main character, Kwang.

Kwang is the main character in the story, where at first he was told as a child who was obsessed with spiders and won by following spider wrestling.

In the story, spider wrestling is described as a local activity that is popular with lower-class children in Singapore in the 1950s era. Moreover, Kwang was described as very fond of the activity even when he was a toddler.

For Kwang, having a spider and getting him involved in spider wrestling is not only satisfying and just momentary pleasure, but also as a struggle to achieve a better life. Therefore, Kwang was very serious in running it and was assisted by his friend, Ah Seow.

In Spider Boys, Ah Seow is a friend and Kwang’s spider agent. He is described as a smart child and expert in managing things related to spiders.

Kwang lives in a simple house with a bamboo deck built by his father. In the story, Kwang has no father so he only lives with his mother and his two younger siblings.

Places and Their Influence to The Character

Even though the house he lived in was very simple, for a child like Kwang, the house had many meanings that the reader could relate to the role of the character himself.

At the beginning of the story, it was mentioned that Kwang had a mother who did not like her passion for spiders. Yee, Kwang’s mother, is a mother who works hard to support her children, sometimes she works at night or vice versa.

She also could not read and write which made Kwang use it to trick his mother by pretending to learn words in English which his mother did not understand at all.

Based on that, it can be seen that the house where he lives in is not a place that can be used as Kwang to be himself. He pretended to study only because he did not want the mother to scold him for his attitude which was against her will.

Besides not being able to be himself, Kwang was clever to trick or lie to others, where for the children on his age was not a good thing, but it is different with real life.

Research carried out by Kang Lee, Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto, stated that children who lie are common and can be a sign of a child’s intelligence.

If a child lies, she or he will consider the two things, those are what is and what others don’t think before he tells a lie.

Then, lying children have the ability as if they were able to improve on what would happen if he told the other person honestly so that the child would be able to reach academically and socially.

According to the explanation above, it can be concluded that Kwang can not only be said to be a child who is good at lying and deceiving, but he is also actually clever in seeing conditions.

The Gaps for Business Talks

Furthermore, in the Kwang house, there are gaps of rough planks that dividing Kwang and Ah Seow’s rooms. They are said to live in neighbouring houses built with bamboo material.

The distance between their two adjacent rooms was used by both of them to be their medium of communicating with each other to discuss their spider business.

Based on the scene, it can be seen that both Kwang and Ah Seow can utilize the things around them to be used as something useful for their interests.

In this case, the intelligence of mind that is owned by both in the face of an obstacle is used as an advantage or opportunity where they can continue to communicate related to important or confidential matters between them.

The Backyard to Tell Secrets

Then, another place in the story used by Kwang and Ah Seow to take care of their spider needs is in the backyard of the farmhouse to get information between each other secretly and confidentially.

With the communication going on in that place, both of them were also seen utilizing every meeting they did to exchange information in secret.

This was not only because he wanted to get information from Ah Seow, but also a movement or tactic carried out by Kwang rather secretly – who was still obsessed with profit unknown to his mother.

In real life, the thing that happens to Kwang is not just a story written by someone, but also really exists in the psychological state of a child and a lot of research has been done on children who have started keeping secrets.

In general, a child begins to keep secrets because he already understands the consequences in his secret. Based on this, it can be seen that Kwang was very well aware of the consequences of insisting on spider wrestling that his mother did not approve of.

Even though he was very fond of the activity, if parents did not approve and support it, this could become an obstacle for Kwang.

What’s more, Kwang tried to be able to escape the shackles of his parents who required him to stay at home and not follow spider wrestling which was very contrary to his parents’ abilities. It can be seen that Kwang feels free in favour of the things he likes.

Indeed, in real life, a child who will grow up has begun to need privacy about things and the world he has. Parents are also not always required to monitor their behaviour patterns and things that their children do at all times as long as they don’t change them in a negative direction.

However, it needs to be realized that actually, parents can also take part in things that are being loved or studied by the child. Because it is not impossible, no matter how small the things they are enjoying can become future learning when they are adults later.


Based on the reviews above, a place in the story can be very meaningful even for one character.

From one place he can choose the attitude for what he must deal with the treatment of others and can have various kinds of expectations that want to be realized for both the main character and those who are not.

For a child like Kwang, a place can be a playground for him to get to know the world more broadly and to find out what he can like and not.

A child can learn from a place and enjoy something and use it to be a profitable opportunity even though it means it must pass through various obstacles that can hamper a mature and convincing strategy.

Then, from a place, a child can be able to equip themselves in behaving and make a decision to determine their next life path.

sumber gambar: Local Books

B. N. Leica Jalassuad
Mahasiswi Sastra Inggris Universitas Negeri Jakarta

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