There are No Children Here

Length: 4 Pages 889 Words

The book There Are No Children Here by Alex Kotlowitz we follow the lives of two black boys; 10-year-old Lafayette, and 7 year old Pharoah, as they struggle to beat the odds growing up in one of Chicago's worst housing projects. They live in a subsidized housing project called Henry Horner Homes. The family relies on welfare and federal assistance for support and thus cannot afford most luxuries and many necessities; therefore, life is an ongoing struggle to survive. Lafayette and Pharoah share the project apartment with their mother, an alcoholic-drug using father, an older sister, an older brother, and younger triplets. The Project itself is a run down, un-maintained dump, run by the Chicago Housing Authority. The living conditions in their project are appalling. Rusted appliances and dead animals litter and rot the basements. The heating coils in the buildings' furnaces are missing and the buildings have not been painted in many years. Some buildings have numerous bloodstains in them from murder victims. This is due to the fact that the buildings are run and occupied by the gangs in the area. The neighborhood in which they live is filled with poverty and crime. There are no banks, no public libraries, no movie theatres, no skat Continue...

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Yet all these hardships and obstacle we are left with the question of what can we do that will work. Lafayette on the other hand encountered much difficulty at the new school. The children continue to mourn, and feel sorrow for a while, but reality would set in, and they knew that it was an every day part of their life. "They've seen too much to be children. In a place where gangs become your family, and drug money can make you more than Mc Donald's, It isn't hard to understand why kids in the inner city turn out the way they do. Though he left after less than a year, he learned quite a bit from St. You cannot help but feel you want to help the boys out, and yet, not enough people seem to care when there are so many others in the same position as Pharaoh and Lafayette. He enjoys having two hours of homework every night. The book follows Pharoah and Lafayette over a two year period in which they struggle with school, attempt to resist the lure of gangs, mourn the death of close friends, and still find the courage to search for a quiet inner peace, that most people take for granted. The title of the book came from a line in the book itself, where the brothers' mother as she and author Alex Kotlowitz consider the challenges of living in such a hostile environment: "There are no children here," she says. His daydreaming and forgetfulness sometimes interferes with his success. Both were below there grade standards in reading and math. He started out behind in math and reading and is slowly catching up.


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