All American Boys

by

Jason Reynolds

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on All American Boys can help.

All American Boys: 4. Saturday: Quinn Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Quinn explains that fights are pretty common in Springfield, and that he tried to convince himself that what happened at Jerry’s was “no big deal.” However, he couldn’t bring himself to enjoy Jill’s party. He is haunted by the image of Paul beating Rashad; in this moment, Paul was unrecognizable, like an entirely different person. Quinn sleeps badly and wakes up on Saturday with his father’s voice in his head, urging him to push himself. Quinn does so many push-ups and sit-ups that he almost makes himself pass out.
Quinn is deeply disturbed by what he witnessed at Jerry’s, but at this stage he does not necessarily even consider it a situation of injustice—certainly not racial injustice. Rather, he is confused by seeing a side of Paul that he didn’t know existed, and that contrasts with his existing impression of him.
Themes
Racism, Stereotyping, and Police Brutality Theme Icon
American Culture, Values, and Patriotism Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility Theme Icon
Heroes vs. Villains Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Ma asks what’s wrong, and Quinn tells her it’s nothing. He explains that he needs to head to the basketball court because Coach Carney is picking starters this week. Quinn gets in the shower and thinks about the scouts coming from colleges. His father was given a full ride through ROTC, and Quinn feels that he needs to do even better by getting a full ride at an excellent school through basketball.
Here we learn of another way in which Quinn struggles to live up to the legacy of his father. Quinn does not have the luxury of knowing that his family and community will be proud of him no matter what. Instead, he feels he needs to exceed the standard set by his dad.
Themes
American Culture, Values, and Patriotism Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility Theme Icon
Heroes vs. Villains Theme Icon
Quinn gets out of the shower and runs straight into Ma, who demands to know “the truth.” For the first time, Ma has found out about Quinn stealing her bourbon. She reminds him that alcohol can kill him and that he is breaking the law. Quinn blames Guzzo, which further infuriates Ma. She tells him that “it’s about how the world looks at you” and that, as a senior, he must decide “what kind of man you want to become.” Ma tells Quinn to go to Willy’s soccer game that day and to take him out to pizza after. Quinn agrees.
Ma is justifiably angry about Quinn’s theft of her alcohol, as well as his deflection of blame. On the other hand, she seems to be more concerned with what other people will think of Quinn than what he is actually doing. Perhaps Ma, too, struggles with living up to the legacy of Quinn’s father. After his death, the Collins family are left under constant scrutiny within Springfield, and each of them struggles as a result.
Themes
American Culture, Values, and Patriotism Theme Icon
Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility Theme Icon
Willy is unenthused by soccer, but at the game Quinn shouts encouragement. Guzzo texts to say he has a terrible hangover. He adds that Paul is home and that what happened at Jerry’s is “a big deal.” Guzzo’s family are having a barbecue tomorrow and “everybody” is coming. Quinn finds this strange, as the Galluzzos have never hosted a gathering before. He feels nervous about the prospect of seeing Paul. Back at the soccer game, Will unexpectedly lands a “sweet tackle” and is “the momentary hero” of the match. Quinn gives him a high five and thinks that “it’s actually pretty cool having a little brother.” Quinn sees himself in Will, which helps him understand himself better.
Ma’s insistence that Quinn take Willy to his soccer game turns out to have been wise. Quinn finds a sense of responsibility and fulfilment through his role as Willy’s older brother. Whereas Quinn finds it difficult to be identified as the son of “Saint Springfield,” as Willy’s older brother he sees an opportunity to set a good example in his own right and figure out the sort of man he wants to be.
Themes
Racism, Stereotyping, and Police Brutality Theme Icon
American Culture, Values, and Patriotism Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility Theme Icon
Heroes vs. Villains Theme Icon
Get the entire All American Boys LitChart as a printable PDF.
All American Boys PDF
Mother’s Pizza is packed. On the wall there is a photo of Quinn’s father at the St. Mary’s soup kitchen, and Quinn always tries to avoid sitting near it. As Quinn is about to order, Jill approaches and asks him to grab an extra slice for her. Quinn shyly agrees; as the son of “Saint Springfield” he always gets a discount, and thus picks up three Cokes as well. The three eat together and Jill accidentally mentions that Quinn must be hungover, which Quinn makes Willy swear to keep a secret. Quinn tries to figure out if Jill and English hooked up, without asking directly. Quinn worries that Jill thinks of him as “more of a brother.” 
This passage shows that the kindness people show to Quinn can actually be somewhat suffocating. Of course, the photo of his father and discount he gets at Mother’s are well-intentioned, but in fact they leave Quinn feeling self-conscious. Like most teenagers, Quinn seems to want to be “normal” rather than the son of a hero.
Themes
American Culture, Values, and Patriotism Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Heroes vs. Villains Theme Icon
Suddenly, a fight breaks out nearby. This is not unusual, considering that Mother’s lies at the border between neighborhoods. People of every race go to eat there, but Quinn notices that the four men being arrested now are white. Quinn suggests they get out of there and walk Jill home. On the way, Jill mentions the barbecue at Guzzo’s house the next day. She also thinks it is strange that they are hosting a “sudden party.” Quinn and Jill agree that they both think they know why the party is happening, but Quinn resists spelling it out explicitly, even in his own mind.
Quinn is still in a state of confusion and denial about the incident at Jerry’s and its consequences. He doesn’t want to believe that Paul committed an act of police brutality, and certainly doesn’t want to think that this might have been motivated by racism. Although he seems to intuit that there are ulterior motives behind the barbecue, he worries about what would happen if he admitted this to himself.
Themes
Racism, Stereotyping, and Police Brutality Theme Icon
American Culture, Values, and Patriotism Theme Icon
Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility Theme Icon