There Are No Children Here Essays: Style

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Style of There Are No Children Here

There Are No Children Here  In Kotlowitz's description of the harsh realities of the Chicago projects, three stylistic elements stand out: his precise narration, his bluntness, and his questionable objectivity. These three elements blend to form a unique style that is particularly well-suited for There Are No Children Here.

If there is one thing on which critics agree when discussing this book, it is that Kotlowitz is a brilliant narrator. He has a keen eye for the daily particulars of this dangerous neighborhood. Adding to this strength is the fact that he spent years in one particular Chicago project, earning the trust of his informants. What ensues is a story that is told masterfully.
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These two direct quotes increase the impact of the passage infinitely. Kotlowitz's narrative technique is extremely effective in giving the reader deeply affecting portraits of the two brothers (Siler 14). It is Kotlowitz's ability to recognize the details that are essential that makes his narration brilliant and memorable.

Kotlowitz's effectiveness as a narrator is strengthened by his bluntness. For example, when dealing with the clean-up of the basement, Kotlowitz spares no details in his description: "Some Chicago Housing Authority employees wearing moon suits and gas masks clean the basements at Henry Horner, removing the animal carcasses and rusted appliances" (Kotlowitz 303). None of the grim details are edited.

Furthermore, during the funeral of a friend of one of the boys, Kotlowitz goes to great lengths to describe the body: ". . .[his] head wound had been stuffed with cotton and sutured to prevent leakage. . ." (Kotlowitz 205). The grim details have an unsettling effect on the reader, bringing the horror to life. Kotlowitz's description makes vivid the terrors of growing up in the projects (Siler 12).

Kotlowitz's straightforwardness avoids preachy declarations in favor of a simple, almost childlike tone. Kotlowitz does not sanitize the language and culture of the Horner projects (Washington 12). Children call Horner the "graveyard." The children's mother's shopping list includes "hair grease." This straightforward account brings the
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