Never Give Up, Never Surrender

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Once most men are broken they will stay damaged. It takes a rare figure to come out of the fire tempered to a stronger man. Socrates Fortlow is such a man, tempered by guilt, jail and a hard life to become a better human being. Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned by Walter Mosley shows some of the grit of humanity but some of the finest as well. The rooster, Billy, starts the novel and shows Socrates a last gasp can be your most important. As the book progresses, a job becomes a courtroom where Socrates fights for his right to work. Later when he must stop a pyromaniac, he forces himself to go against a lifetime of learned distrust and seek the police for help and justice. Socrates most telling and difficult challenge follows when he must let go of his dearest friend. Throughout this novel of urban struggle it is made clear that if a few core values are held up then your life has to be worth something. Socrates Fortlow is an ex-con. He has spent twenty-seven years of his life in jail on a rape and double homicide. The guilt of his crime weighs all the heavier because of his victims, his two best friends. Socrates is not a saint by any means. He committed a crime everyday he was in prison"find quote" Once out he rented a two room shack and tried to survive by collecting cans, doing odd jobs, and growing some of his own vegetables. He has been this way for eight years. Something must change. He must do something, make a stand, anything. The death of Billy, one of Socrates few friends, is the match that rekindles his want for something better. Billy was very old but he never gave in, "The rooster was horse in his old age, his crow no more than a whisper. But as least that motherfucker tried" (Mosley, 24). Despite being totally incapable of saving himself the rooster gave the slightest whisper as he died which was more than Socrates would do if he didn't start some change and quick. Fear is what kept Socrates from doing almost anything, but with Billy...
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