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Keeping Our Youthfulness In No Children Here By Alex Kotlowitz

1785 words - 8 pages

There are No Children Here; by Alex Kotlowitz is a story about two brothers and their mother, Pharaoh, Lafayette and LaJoe Rivers and them growing up in the late 1980's in the (HHH) Henry Horner Homes, a housing project in Chicago. In the story the boys try to retain their youthfulness while they see constant gang violence, death of people close to them and their brother is in jail and their dad is struggling with drug addiction.
In Horner, there are two gangs that claim it as their area, and the Rivers family is always hiding from all the shooting. The apartment they live in is so unkempt, and mostly too old. Their mother, LaJoe, does all she can to keep her children out of danger in the community. The children also have to watch out for themselves from danger and quickly losing their childhood. The boys find it difficult to have friends because most of the other children are involved in the gangs or are dealing with drugs. Pharaoh
Desperately tries to hold on to his innocence and is very dedicated in his education. sadly, Lafayette has made friends with a mischievous boy named Rickey and was lured into a gang.
There are many problems in the neighborhood and even with LaJoe's positive attitude, she cant take her family out of the (HHH) projects. In an environment like the one shown in the book, by Alex Kotlowitz " There Are No Children here," ,how a youth develops is much affected by the physical environment and the actions that go on around them. By the time most of the children of the city have gone through adolescence, they have witnessed and experienced many tragedies heartache that even an adult would find disturbing. They have sold drugs, joined gangs, have probably seen their best friends being shot, or even murdered by the police. "By the end of the season, the police would record that one person every three days had been beaten, shot at, or stabbed at Horner. In just one week, they confiscated twenty-two guns and 330 grams of cocaine. Most of the violence here that summer was related to drugs." (32) these events seriously had a huge effect on the childhoods of the youths, taking away the children's innocence by showing them events that are not healthy for a child's growing mind witness or attest to. Pharaoh and Lafayette, like all of the other children in the ghettos, are faced with a hard choices, on whether to stand up for yourself and succeed by refusing to accept the cities violence and gangs, or accept the pressure that pushes down on you from ever again being able to succeed.
Lafayette Rivers, one of the two boys that Alex Kotlowitz book, "There Are No Children Here" is primarily set up around is ten years old when their story begins. By the ending he is thirteen years old, and yet portrayed to be older. Racism, poverty, violence and death make Lafayette unable to enjoy a normal childhood like kids in the suburbs. The nature of the environment he lives in is not suitable for children, especially kids his age. To be able to live...

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