Violence in Harlem is the main theme."The Rockpile" addresses the issue of violence in Harlem. The story explores the issue in two ways. First, it examines violence among community members. In the beginning of the story, the narrator discusses the fights that take place on the rockpile during the afternoons and on Saturdays and Sundays: "They fought on the rockpile. Sure footed, dangerous, and reckless, they rushed each other and grappled on the heights." Later in the story, Roy becomes one of these boys, going over to the rockpile "with his friends."