The narrator learns of multiple deaths in Harlem. He tells the story of Jim Goldie’s death. Jim died because Eddie Canton was looking for the owner of a nightclub he worked at. Jim made the owner’s problems his own problems and was shot four times in the head. The narrator also thinks about the boys from the neighborhood who have been electrocuted at Sing Sing prison. The last straw is when his childhood friend Butch dies as a result of failing five stories off of a roof. The narrator visits Butch in the hospital and visits the family to pay his respects, but is unable to attend the funeral.
He becomes disenchanted with Harlem and decides to spend most of his time downtown in the Village. He goes to school and works. Eventually he joins a gym and learns to play the piano. By the end of the chapter, the narrator is ready to resume a regular life in Harlem. Chapter 9 Vocabulary: duji, omnipotent, strung out, junkies The narrator discusses various men in the neighborhood who have been addicted to drugs and/or selling drugs. He discusses Billy Dobbs who once had a serious addiction but found the Coptic Church and stopped using drugs.
By the end of the chapter, he is back to using drugs and the addiction is worse. The narrator discusses his growing interest and eventual disillusionment in Father Ford’s Coptic Church. A number of the narrator’s friends are released from prison, having served three-year terms, but Harlem has changed and they are unsure of how to fit it. Even when they sell drugs, they do not understand the big picture of the drug scene. His friend Tito gets out and does not want to know whether his family is dead or alive because no one visited or wrote to him while he was in prison.
Mac recognizes his mother’s abusiveness and wants to find his own apartment. Dunny decided to sell drugs, not out of his house, but by standing at changing locations on the street. His friend T. was both a drug dealer and pimp and wanted to marry one of the women who worked for him as a he prostitute. One of the neighborhood boys, Turk, went into the Air Force and trained to be a boxer. When he came out the Air Force, he was very successful. Danny becomes a kind of neighborhood hero because he conquers his addiction to drugs but is able to continue selling drugs on the street.
Chapter 10 Vocabulary: hustlers, bebopping, stuff, turning a trick, syringe with spike Claude thinks about the way drugs have permeated the community. Before 1957, a young man had to know how to use his hands. After 1957, a young man had to know how to wield a knife. He says that giving in to one’s feelings of fear was not an option. If he did not fight someone on the street and his father learned of it, then his father would beat him at home. In this chapter, the example is Claude fighting the Morris brothers.
The men in the community would force boys to fight one another. Someone challenged Claude to fight Rip for $1. Once a young man established his reputation, he would not have to fight so often. Drugs affected women as much as men. He sees his old girlfriend Sugar on the street and she has become an addict. She is hungry for her next fix. She talks about making money as a prostitute to repay Claude with interest. She started using drugs because she wanted to understand why her husband would leave her for an addiction.