The following quotations are important at various points in the story (Anchor Books Edition, 1991):

1. If I grow up, I'd like to be a bus driver.

(pg. x; Lafeyette made this statement when he was ten, indicating that to children in the projects, life is very tenuous.)

2. But you know, there are no children here. They've seen too much to be children.

(pg. x; LaJoe makes this statement when the author proposes a book about her children.)

3. The youngsters had heard that suburb-bound commuters, from behind the tinted train windows, would shoot at them for trespassing on the tracks.

(pg. 7; This reinforces how wide the gap is between whites and blacks, between haves and have-nots.)

4. Nothing here, the children would tell you, was as it should be.

(pg. 8; This quote reinforces the despair inherent in just living in the projects.)

5. Horner sat so close to the city's business district that from the Sears Tower observation deck, tourists could have watched Lafeyette duck gunfire on his birthday.

(pg. 13; These two areas are side-by-side, and yet are a world apart.)

6. So that summer LaJoe wanted to be prepared for the worst. She started paying $80 a month for burial insurance for Lafeyette, Pharaoh, and the four-year-old triplets.

(pg. 17; These words show the reality of life for a mother who lives in the projects.)

7. We had it all. I really thought this was it. And I never knew, until I lost it all, that it wasn't.

(pg. 25; These are LaJoe's words as she remembers how hopeful the first years at Horner were and how all her hopes deteriorated with the buildings themselves.)

8. My brothers ain't set no good example for me, but I'll set a good example for them.

(pg. 29; This comment by Lafeyette reinforces how responsible he felt to do the right thing.)

9. Despite her efforts, though, her speech underlined the general feeling among her peers that many of them, like Bird Leg, might not make it to adulthood.

(pg. 49; These words describe the feeling created by Carla Palmore's eulogy for Bird Leg.)

10. Denial is simply a means of survival here.

(pg. 54; This is the author's observation after Lafeyette refuses to talk about a firebombing he witnessed.)

11. ‘Mama, one time I had said to myself I wasn't gonna talk no more. I got tired of peoples talking to me and I wasn't answering them. What I try to say ain't worth saying to nobody anyways. Nothing happens.'

(pg. 100; In these words, Lafeyette emphasizes his hopelessness after the family loses its welfare benefits.)

12. Even in victory, the silence was deafening.

(pg. 135; The author makes this observation after the case of Urica Winder which no one in Horner will talk about out of fear of reprisals.)

13. In later weeks, he finally confided in his mother about his discovery. ‘My mind be cleared of everything there,‘ he told her.

(pg. 145; Here Pharoah tells his mother about the beauty and comfort he finds at Damen Commons.)

14. ‘I wish I could go in there and live with them,' Timothy said.

( pg. 174; Here little Timothy expresses his desire to live with the mechanical children in a Christmas window display. It reinforces the bleakness of his life at Horner.)

15. ‘Mama,' Pharoah interrupted, ‘I'm just too young to understand how life really is.'

(pg. 176; Pharoah voices this idea when LaJoe tries to comfort him about the prospect that Terence may go to prison for ten years.)

16. ‘Anytime I go outside, I ain't guaranteed to come back.'

(pg. 216; Lafeyette is beginning to recognize his own mortality after Craig's death.)

17. ‘I don't need another man to ruin my life! I got my man! He ruined it!'

(pg. 234; In this instance, LaJoe screams out of control after she is threatened by a stalker named Keith.)

18. ‘I worry about dying, dying at a young age, while you're little. I'll be thinking about I want to get out of the jects. I want to get out. It ain't no joke when you die.'

(pg. 264; Pharoah makes this comment while the gangs are fighting it out with the Housing Authority.)

19. ‘I feel good not understanding.'

(pg. 280; Here Pharoah once again hides behind his youth to survive the tragedies in his life.)

Cite this page:

Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on A Long Way Gone". TheBestNotes.com.