There community have now disappeared due to budget


There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing up in the Other America, by Alex Kotlowitz. New York: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 1992,  chronicles the life of two inner city boys, Lafeyette and Pharoah Rivers, who face the unfathomable circumstances of crime, poverty, and the lack of adequate housing and education. Throughout the book, Kotlowitz reveals the the vicious cycle that controls many families in poverty and the harsh reality that shapes many urban societies. The author accomplishes his goal of educating the readers on the structural components that control the poor.   The book analyzes various themes that contribute to the social significance of the book. The most important theme is a dream deferred. The Henry Horner Projects were once a place filled with hope, but it is now riddled with the influences of crime, poverty, and violence. Kotlowitz carefully chronicles these external factors that contribute to Lafeyette and Pharaohs personalities. These external factors are the structural components that conspire to eradicate not only them, but millions of children in urban communities.  The adversity faced in this narrative ranged from police to gangs, an inadequate education system, to a crumbing justice system, and in each case, Kotlowitz shapes his arguments on his observations and research. The author is merely proposing how these adversities and external factors affect each person differently, and through the portrayal of Lafeyette and Pharoah this notion is perceived. Lafeyette and Pharoah are just two young boys who want to end the vicious cycle of poverty that plagues the community. This neighborhood devoured children like a beast, Bird Leg, a friend of theirs, was shot and killed by rival gang members. Craig Davis, a talented young man, was shot and killed by the police for a mistaken identity. One young black man every three days was either shot, killed, or stabbed. So, how can a dream not be deferred when this neighborhood was consumed by the evils around it? This community once stood for change within the inner city, but as the community started to deteriorate it became practical for their mother to start paying, “…$80 a month for burial insurance for Lafeyette, Pharaoh, and the four-year-old triplets” (Kotlowitz 17).  This narrative recreates scenes of what it was like to live in the inner city during the 1980s. A variety of social reforms that once aided the community have now disappeared due to budget cuts, and the expectations of the Reagan era have left the people hopeless.  This novel portrays what life is like in many urban communities, and how the lack of appropriate social and economic resources can lead to the endless cycle of poverty, making it almost impossible for young people to try and make it out of this life. Furthermore, Kotlowitz conveys to the reader that there is hope for a better future, but the change needs to start now. The circumstances that you face shall not be the factor that holds you back, but the attributes that make you stronger. This heartfelt novel not only tells the story of two boys who are trying to navigate through a poverty stricken and crime riddled community, but the story of all children who live in urban communities just like this. Kotowitz makes a call to action and debates over how we should start to make a change in this world.  

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