The Baddest Dog In Harlem Analysis

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The young adult novel ”The Baddest Dog in Harlem” is written by the African-American writer Walter Dean Myers. It is a part of the collection “145th Street: Short Stories” which was published in 2001. 1 We do not get much information about the characters. We have a black narrator who remains unknown through the entire novel, and we have his friends Wille, Pedro and Mr. Lynch. We also have Mary, who is the tenant of the apartment which the police shot at. We get to know a little part of her personality, when we read about her reaction towards drapes: “You shot up my new drapes! I don’t work all day for you fools to be up here shooting up my drapes!”2 - Quite aggressive behavior. The poor characterization of the persons in the story is caused by the fact that the story does not focus on individual persons, but rather on a social problem which is seen certain places in America. The setting of the story is Harlem, which is a large neighborhood within the northern section of the New York City borough of Manhattan. Since the 1920s, Harlem has been known as a major African-American residential, cultural and business center.3 More specifically, the story takes place on 145th Street, outside Big Joe´s place. We meet a few young men, probably African American, who discuss who the best boxer is. The men seem like jobless people, as they have hours to sit down and talk. Pedro said: “Two hours, maybe three hours”4 when the police officer asked him how long they have
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