“There Are No Children Here” Analysis


“ThereAre No Children Here” Analysis


“ThereAre No Children Here”

Thenovel, “There are No Children Here” is informative. Moreover,some lessons are captured in the novel. The three major characters,Lafayette Rivers, Pharaoh Rivers and LaJoe Rivers bring out the mainthemes of the novel (Kotlowitz1991). The theories of deviance will also be evaluated. These deviancetheories include Differential association theory, Anomic theory,Labeling Theory and Control Theory. These themes include war zones inparts of America and the magnitude of poverty that exists. Moreover,the mood in the entire novel is gloomy in the two boy’s faces.However, there are situations where there are moments of hope .These situations include Dawns graduation and in the spelling beewhere Pharaoh was playing the second place. Thestory line of the Novel, “There are no children here” creates badscenes in Pharaoh and Lafayette Rivers minds. Moreover, the book byKotlowitz is informative, and people who never experience the realchanges can never have the real feeling (Kotlowitz1991).The main experience and feeling that the readers will feel arefiction. The fact that the violence erupts with the family on a dailybasis is not a happy thing to know.Therefore, this paper seeks to analyze the novel, “There are NoChildren Here” and evaluate deviance theories.

Applicationof the Deviance Theories to the Novel

Deviancedescribes all behaviors, which violates the society’s social norms.Moreover, these uncouth behaviors are not accepted in the society((Barkan , 2011). . Thecontext of deviance deals with crime and expounds more on criminaljustice. Many theories explain the deviance theory.

Differentialassociation theory explains how our surrounding plays a role ininfluencing the people`s norms and more so, the violation of thenorms. It focuses more on deviance gangs(Barkan , 2011). There is a feeling abandonment in theentire novel. Moreover, people in Henry Corner feel abandoned giventhe Chicago projects. The cause of being abandoned is seen when theelevators are not working on a full-time basis. The number of peoplewho own telephones is very few .Kotlowitz feels sorry for the children living abject poverty.Moreover, the children are exposed to many dangers, and he describesthe world as a place that is not concerned about its children. It isfunny how LaJoe Rivers pays $80 every month for her children burialinsurance . The main reasonfor paying burial insurance lies in the environment in which herchildren are exposed . Theenvironment includes a rogue society that experiences drug and gangsthreats. The main use of the telephones is not alert the police ofthe crime that occur around them on a daily basis. The other mainchallenge is the people’s perception on school attendance . Consequently, few freshmen make it to the seniorschool. The children in Chicago are seen to be affected by theenvironment they are living. More so, the differentialassociationtheory explains more on how children’s indulge in drug peddling andthe gang run by Jimmie Lee.

Anomietheory looks into the social norms conflict arising from the societyconfusion. Moreover, the theory discusses the bad ways some people inthe society use in meeting their goals(Barkan, 2011). Thesociety is living in dismay not able to know the real meaning oflife. The Horner Homes who are the main inhabitants live near thehull house. The hull house is one of the settlements that was startedby Jane Addams in 1889. This settle is in the United States ofAmerica. Moreover, the Horner Homes live near an apartment where thepolice shot dead Black Panther and Fred Hampton. Poverty and Violenceare in the air . A cleargeographic history explains what happened in the Twentieth Century toAmerican Cities. Moreover, Jimmie Lee runs a gang controls the city.However, the police patrol the whole area but the Conservativevice-Lords are hard to stop. Jimmie Lee deals with drugs, and hemakes up to $100,000 weekly .The influence that Jimmie has overweighs the police efforts makinginsecurity uncontrollable. The police try their best to fight thegang. However, Chicago news media report many deaths. The fight inthe neighborhood is continuous leading to immense violence.Anomietheory is evident throughout the novel where the children adapt badbehaviors like associating themselves with killings, which is againstthe social norms.

Controltheory focuses on how controls overweighs deviant behaviors.Moreover, self-control comes into play, which enables an individualnot to act against social norms. Drugs were the order of the day(Barkan ,2011). After every three days, the police reported onedeath caused by either stabbing, shooting or beating to death.Moreover, the police confiscate 330 grams and twenty-twoguns . Moreover, in summer, most of the violence are drug related.It gets more difficult for Pharaoh and Lafayette River to survive butthey have no choice. Alex Kotlowitz captures this dangerous world inhis book. “There are no children here” comes into place whenLaJoe Rivers tells the boys mothers that they boys have seen too muchto be children . Statisticsindicate that in at least five children in the United States ofAmerica, one is living in extreme poverty.Self-control is veryimportant, but the children in Chicago have a difficulty incontrolling themselves. The society’s cruelty is forcing them toindulge in bad practices like stealing and breaking into theirneighbors houses.

Labelingtheory explains how people are labeled through other people’sdeviant behaviors(Barkan , 2011). Children are exposed to dangers suchas drug peddling and even raw deaths. However, because Chicago hasbeen perceived (labeled) a crime zone, the children find it normal tofall victims of the crime. Lafayette finds it difficult to cope upin the crude society. The Children’s Defense Fund estimates thattwelve million children live in abject poverty. Moreover, in Chicago,one in every three children suffer in extreme poverty . When the children enter the adolescence stage, they haveencountered most terror in the neighborhood than most adults havefaced in a lifetime. Children in Chicago are exposed to many dangersand are hardened by the same problems. Moreover, the children havemade many decisions that most educated adults would find difficultyin making decisions in the same situation . More so, the children in Chicago have witnessed fiercedeaths. Moreover, the fightsbetween neighbors in the apartment rules out the meaning of peace inthe society .Pharaoh and his friends are not able to enjoy his birthday partybecause of the weird interruptions of guns sounds in the adjacentbuilding. Consequently, the people in Chicago live in a constant fearof death .Violence is the main smell in the air, and it is hard to predict whathappens next in the neighborhood. Furthermore, thechildren who were once innocents find themselves in selling drugs andothers joining gangs run by Jimmie Lee.Therefore, deviant theoriesexplain more on how society’s bad behavior can lead to the overalllabeling of the inhabitants.


Toconclude, Theories of deviance are captured widely in the novel. TheNovel reflect so many instances where deviance theories areapplicable. The social context of the novel is within a communitywhere crime is a factor of concern. Moreover, children who are fromthe city are all labeled as &quotbad&quot because of the reputationthat the society carries. The society is cruel to the children, andthis makes them compromise the social norms. Moreover, the violencein Chicago city that is carried out by Jimmie Lee is the subject thatproves the deviance theory. Moreover, there is no self-control amongpeople living in Chicago because of the hostile environment they areexposed. Therefore, the novel embraces deviance theories in everyaspect of the occurrences in the novel. Lafayette and Pharaoh areyoung boys who are struggling to grow up. Lafayette determination inlife is outstanding. Moreover, he is a boy who has seen more than hisage could handle. Therefore, this novel brings into limelight theextreme violence that was experienced in Chicago. Lastly, it focuseson the hard life that children faced in Chicago.


Barkan, S. (2011). Sociology:Understanding and Changing the Social World.Minneapolis, MN: Open Text Books

Kotlowitz,A. (1991).&nbspThereare no children here: The story of two boys growing up in the otherAmerica.New York: Anchor.