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There Are No Children Here By Alex Kotlowitz Essay

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There Are No Children Here by Alex Kotlowitz tells the harrowing story of the Rivers family and their shocking experiences living in an underserved Chicago public housing project. The story focuses on Lafayette, a middle school aged boy discovering his identity, Pharoah, an elementary school aged boy with high ambition and goals, and their resilient mother LaJoe. Matza’s Techniques of Neutralization discuss how people can create rationalizations to justify delinquencies and crimes. Specifically applicable to There Are No Children Here is the theory of Denial of Responsibility which occurs when the perpetrator of an offense claims the situation was out of their control, they did not know the law, they were a victim of circumstance, or they were acted upon by outside forces rather than acting themselves. The second theory applicable to There Are No Children Here is Becker’s theory of Master Status. The theory of Master Status states that labels can take on a “master status” and can have an enormous influence and once you’ve been labeled, then define you. These theories aid in understanding how the pattern of violence and destruction is perpetuated in the projects of Chicago and the misfortune in the Rivers family.
The theory of the master status can be applied to almost all characters in There Are No Children Here to understand their behavior and mentality. Terence, the older brother of Lafayette and Pharoah, got wrapped up in crime in his adolescent years. By the time he was
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