Who They Was Themes & Motifs

Gabriel Krauze
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Power

Throughout the novel, the author uses Gabriel's experiences with the South Kilburn gang to explore the ways in which the desire for power and dominance influence the individual's sense of self. When Gabriel is threatened 13 years old, he is threatened by a band of neighborhood boys. His parents tell him he should have run away from them. Gabriel sees their response as "the ultimate humiliation. As if they were telling me that I was from a family of victims" (301). Determined never to be seen as weak or helpless again, Gabriel decides he will never again "allow anyone to make me feel like nothing, to make me feel frozen like I had no power" (302). His youthful resolve, revealed via expositional flashback in the chapter "Who They Was," conveys Gabriel's true reasons not only for joining the South Kilburn gang, but for remaining in it. Because Gabriel has...

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This section contains 2,068 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Who They Was Study Guide
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