There Are No Children Here

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  • Published : September 11, 2005
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Alex Kotlowitz's book, There are No Children Here, is a story about two boys, Pharaoh and Lafeyette Rivers growing in the late 1980's in Henry Horner, a housing project in Chicago. The boys try to retain their youth while they see constant gang violence, death of close friends, their brother in jail and their dad struggling with a drug addiction. In Horner, there are two gangs that claim it as their turf, and the Rivers family is constantly ducking from shots of gunfire there. They live in an overcrowded apartment with leaky facets, heating problems and animal carcasses in the basement. The boys' mother, LaJoe, tries to keep them away from gangs and violence since her eldest children fell to the harsh reality of the neighborhood. The children constantly have to protect themselves from danger and quickly lost their childhood along the way. LaJoe even has to purchase burial insurance for her children because she fears the worst due to the severity of Horner. The boys find it difficult to have friends because most of the other children are involved in drugs and gangs. Pharaoh desperately tries to cling to his innocence and is very conscientious in his studies. Unfortunately, Lafeyette 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 and upbeat attitude, she cannot move her family out of the projects. Luckily, Kotlowitz is able to fund the boys' education to attend a private school. Even though this helps them receive a better education, they are still faced with other problems. The Ecological Theory is strongly related to the theme of family in violence in this novel. This theory examines how children develop based on the environment that his/her family resides. The development of a child is based on the interactions between their biology, family and community. To fully understand the development of Pharaoh and Lafeyette, we have to understand...
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