There Are No children Here


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In attending to the minutiae of their lives, he documents all the forces that conspire to crush them and, by extension, millions of their peers across the country. His villains range from gangs to the police, from an overwhelmed juvenile-justice system to a historically racist public-housing authority, and in every case, Kotlowitz hangs his arguments on first-hand observation and thorough research.

His point, I suspect, is not to remove responsibility from LaJoe, a defeated woman, but rather to pose the rhetorical question to whites inclined to judgment: Just what would you do in her place? The narrative cunningly arches from an opening scene of affecting innocence, as Lafeyette and Pharoah search for a garter snake to keep as a pet, to a climax in which a family-court judge finds Lafeyette guilty of delinquency.

Between those poles, Kotlowitz closely watches every increment of behavior and character.

There Are No Children Here by Alex Kotlowitz Plot Summary | LitCharts

When Pharoah develops a stutter or Lafeyette withdraws into cynicism, it is clear these are not merely adolescent phases. Friends you trust. The Henry Horner project, once bustling with Scout troops and community gardens, is by the s almost uninhabitable. Basic appliances break and remain unrepaired, even as once-new stoves rust in the basement, surrounded by rotting animal carcasses.

The array of social programs that once served the community has vanished with budget cuts, and the Reagan-era safety net seems like nothing but the sum of its holes. A gang called the Conservative Vice Lords operates the major business in the neighborhood, retailing heroin and cocaine. Even that image suggests far more order than actually exists.

Lethal violence pervades Henry Horner--between competing drug outfits, between criminals and the police, between individuals nursing various grievances. More disturbing still is the death of Craig Davis, a promising young man from a nearby housing project who had delighted the residents of Henry Horner by playing deejay outdoors on summer afternoons.

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This true story of two young brothers details the horror of trying to survive in a violent public housing project. A television movie adaptation aired in Home About Us Login. Chat Now Customer Service 1. My Cart 0 items Checkout.

Summary Life at the Henry Horner Homes is far from perfect; rather, the Chicago housing project is considered one of the most dismal communities in the city. There Are No Children Here Paperback This true story of two young brothers details the horror of trying to survive in a violent public housing project. Learn more.

Content Warning This book contains scenes of violence, death, and racism that some readers may find disturbing. Compare Pharoah's and Lafeyette's differing relationships with their mother, LaJoe.

Content Warning

Discuss the significance of the title and how it relates to Pharoah and Lafeyette's development. Evaluate the relationship between the police and the Henry Horner residents. Their daily activities--searching for snakes along the railroad tracks or walking through their decimated playground--are colored by a fear that Kotlowitz compares with a soldier's post-Vietnam syndrome.

A war zone between the ""gangbangers"" who leave bullet holes in the family's living-room curtains, the brothers' high-rise complex is rarely visited by outsiders, including police, caseworkers, or housing-authority managers.

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In the midst of shootings, visits by his drug-addicted father, and an older brother's court battle that ends in an eight-year jail sentence, Pharoah spends months preparing for his school's annual spelling bee. He places second, but his victory celebration is cut short when he comes home from school to learn that Lafeyette's sole role model has been shot in the head by police. Pharoah retreats from reality and continually insists ""I'm too young to understand,"" while Lafeyette becomes bitter and is plagued by nightmares of his helplessness.

Kotlowitz does not seek to offer an explanation or solution to the children's brutal lives, but his jarring descriptions provide an affecting document. There was a problem adding your email address.

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There Are No Children Here

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