significantly from the beginning to the end of Andrew Lam's _Show and Tell
_. Initially, he is content to hide from trouble
, hoping that it will pass over him. This is acknowledged before lunch
, when Bobby lists the three situations
in which you are allowed to stay in Mr. K's classroom
for lunch. The third, "if you know for sure you're gonna get jumped that day if you played outside," applies to Bobby, who has to watch out for Billy the bully
whenever he is at school.
He undergoes a transformation in the story that culminates in a confrontation with Billy and sidekick Becky. The story is composed mainly of two oral presentation episodes which frame this transformation, as Billy goes from nervous to powerful.
As Bobby begins his first show and tell, he is nervous about speaking in front of the class. He anticipates trouble from Billy, the class bully, and his expectations are met when he pins his family tree to the board. The insults from Billy exacerbate this situation, making Bobby more timid as he speaks to the class. He speaks quickly as if he wants to get it over with as soon as possible, rambling on and on until he reaches his conclusion.
The second show and tell is much different. Bobby is no longer the nervous wreck that he was in the first. In between is the transforming event, when Bobby protects Cao and stands up to Billy and Becky at lunch. When Billy interrogates Cao in the lunch line, Bobby is struck by the cruelty of the questions. Even though Cao doesn't understand what Billy says, Bobby knows that he understands, narrating, "You could tell he pretty much figured it out that Billy's an asshole 'cause you don't need no english for that." After verbal conflagration involving Billy and his female counterpart Becky, Billy threatens trouble when they get outside. Bobby does not seem to be worried this time, having bested them both at their own game. Bobby says that he stands up to Billy and Becky because he didn't want Cao to know that he was afraid of them, but it is clear that he confronts them to protect Cao and keep him from becoming one of Bobby's kind, attending school in fear of Billy.
In the second show and tell episode, Bobby is the translator for Cao Long Nguyen's illustrations, and he speaks slowly and confidently, without Billy's shadow cast over him. He has a understanding that transcends language, and is able to translate Kal's drawings without the usual signs of nervousness.
Bobby plays the role of Phoenix from the X-Men comics: he has a psychic-like ability to understand what Cao draws on the board. Without any words, he turns Cao's drawings into words, sensing the meaning behind each of the drawings. Bobby knows how Cao feels without using words, as their station in life is similar, Cao fleeing from Vietnam, Bobby fleeing from Bobby daily. It is this parallel that allows Bobby to translate with such detail.