A salty, wrenchingly honest collection of stories set on one block of 145th Street. We get to know the oldest resident; the cop on the beat; fine Peaches and her girl, Squeezie; Monkeyman; and Benny, a fighter on the way to a knockout. We meet Angela, who starts having prophetic dreams after her father is killed; Kitty, whose love for Mack pulls him back from the brink; and Big Joe, who wants a bang-up funeral while he's still around to enjoy it. Some of these stories are private, and some are the ones behind the headlines. In each one, characters jump off the page and pull readers right into the mix on 1-4-5.
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Big Joe’s Funeral
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Since this story is told in first-person point of view, the narrator speaks in a more natural way. This is known as colloquialism. The speaker is much more informal and uses slang, such as when he starts off the paragraph saying, "Sadie was a widow lady."
The word "brother" is used here in relation to
The song was originally done by Louis Armstrong. Below is a video of his song. (This annotation contains a video)
Peaches and her friends are behaving this way to
The Baddest Dog in Harlem
Notice that Big Joe is mentioned again. Each story can stand on its own, but together they share common themes, characters, and settings.
Based on this paragraph, how would you describe the narrator's attitude? Provide textual evidence to support your answer.
Notice how the narrator takes advantage of the moment to get close to Mamie. Even with guns being fired he can't help wanting to get close to her. This detail helps us understand his character better.
This sentence deals with the theme of
The detail about the baby's crib provides more insight to the character's life. Why might the fact that he's going to fight and that he has a baby be significant?
What best describes Billy Giles' attitude at this moment
In this sentence, feinted means
Watch the video below about pacing to understand how the author uses pacing for describing the fight. (This annotation contains a video)
Notice how the author establishes mood in these first two paragraphs. Phrases such as "The wind, whistling across the vacant lots" and "crying against the wall at night" help to create a somber mood.
Why do you think Theresa leaves out this part when talking to her daughter, and what does this reveal about her character?
Angela's father's eyes are used as ____.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the 32nd president of the United States. He was the president from 1933 to 1945. He was first inaugurated on March 4, 1933. (This annotation contains an image)
The highlighted sentences contains an example of
The name Consuela means solace or hope.
This is in reference to Ludwig van Beethoven's Funeral March. (This annotation contains a video)
What is one aspect that this story shares with "Angela's Eyes"?
At this moment Ellen is acting as an
A phrase such as this can indicate a shift in tone, plot, or theme. The narrator is getting our attention about something.
The lambada is a Latin dance. Below is a video of the dance. (This annotation contains a video)
Do you believe Jamie is actually experiencing both bad luck and good luck in the story? Why or why not?
What is the main social issue the narrator brings up in the highlighted paragraphs?
Tigro is Spanish for Tiger.
Pay attention to the fact that Clean has no real answer. This is the author's commentary on youth violence and gangs. There's no real reason to it, but kids such as Clean just sees it as the way it has to be.
In this sentence, the word cap means
While previous stories have mentioned violence/gangs before, this is the first story that makes it the central focus. The author not only wants to show what the violence is like for place such as Harlem, but he also wants to show that not every kid wants to be involved with the gangs.
What's your opinion of Monkeyman's actions? What does this reveal about his character? Provide textual evidence to support your answer.
Kitty and Mack: A Love Story
This poem is based on Elizabeth Barret Browning's "Sonnet 43". Sonnets are typically 14 line poems that follow a particular rhythm and rhyme scheme. Below is a video of a reading of the famous poem. (This annotation contains a video)
The highlighted sentence is an example of a
Often authors will use the weather to represent the mood. The rain here is meant to represent the somber mood, and "the stench of dog urine" further emphasizes the mood.
The "sagging banister" represents
What word best describes Kitty?
Watch the video below about static and dynamic characters. Which kind are Mack and Kitty? (This annotation contains a video)
A Christmas Story
Many times a character's physical appearance and surroundings are meant to represent his/her character traits. What conclusions can you draw about Mother Fletcher based on the description of her apartment and appearance?
Mother Fletcher's "flat reply" indicates her
What does Bill's behavior about Mother Fletcher's invitation reveal about him as a character? Provide textual evidence to support your answer.
The story is told in limited third-person point of view. This means that the reader only knows what's going when O'Brien experiences it. At this moment, it is not quite clear what Kathy and Meaghan are doing.
A Story in Three Parts
Pay attention to details such as the highlighted ones. These are hints to Big Time's drug addiction.
How is Big Time feeling at this moment?
"Presidents" is a colloquialism for
Watch the video below about themes emerging. What themes do you think are present in the story so far? (This annotation contains a video)
Remember that Penny was once Big Time's nickname when he was younger.
The description of the setting represents
The fire is building tension in the story and also forcing Big Time to make a decision about his life.
How does the presence of Benny influence Big Time's decision? Provide textual evidence to support your answer.
Block Party—145th Street Style
Notice how the final short story returns to the characters of Big Joe and Sadie. This is similar to what is known as a frame story. A frame story is like a "story within a story," where the main story is told as a story by other characters.
Peaches is most sad about
This moment contributes mainly to
The lack of light in the setting adds to the uncertainty of what is going to happen.