The story “On the sidewalk bleeding” by Evan Hunter deals with the issue of identity through the central character Andy, a young gang member who struggles with his identity as his death draws near.
A young boy called Andy who left a nightclub to go and get cigarettes. He started walking through the alley when suddenly he got stabbed. As he got stabbed he heard a voice saying “That’s for you Royal!” Andy had always been proud to be a Royal because the Royals and the guardians were two of the biggest and he was a Royal. Now as he lay dying on the sidewalk with the rain surrounding him, he thought of being a Royal but now all he wanted to be was Andy.
It is evident that Andy had felt very proud to be a member of the Royals: “The Royals and the Guardians, two of the biggest. He was a Royal there had been meaning to the title”. I think Andy was too involved in the Royals to understand that it was only a gang name and his life was ending at sixteen because of it. Andy decided to join the gang in the first place because it made him powerful, it made him feel like he was somebody. The extent of his pride was shown when it said: “Even in his pain, there had been some sort of pride in knowing he was a Royal!” This tells the reader that he didn’t regret ever becoming a Royal.
A young person like Andy would join a gang so that they would feel safe from other gangs. Additionally, if they were in a gang they would feel important to be a member of that gang as it would give them a sense of belonging.
After Andy was stabbed and he realized that he was going to die, he began to resent his identity as a Royal and just wanted to be known as Andy. “I’m Andy; he screamed wordlessly, I’m Andy”. As Andy lay there dying, alone in the dark he wanted to shout out “Hey, I’m alive! Hey look at me! I’m alive! Don’t you know I’m alive? Don’t you know I exist?” Andy was so frustrated and confused. “He felt very weak and...