All American Boys

All American Boys 7. Monday: Quinn Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Quinn arrives at school to find everyone discussing Rashad. Quinn has received texts from Dwyer and other boys on the basketball team, but doesn’t check them and instead turns his phone on mute. He refuses to watch the video of Rashad’s arrest. As Quinn is walking up the stairs, the team’s point guard, Nam, catches up to him and immediately starts talking about Rashad. He asks why Paul did what he did, and Quinn replies that he was “just doing his job,” before admitting that he hasn’t watched the video. In class, Quinn feels like everyone is looking at him, and it suddenly occurs to him that he might appear in the video.
Although to some extent Quinn seems to be beginning to confront the brutal reality of what happened at Jerry’s, he is still largely burying his head in the sand. He ignores his friends’ texts and refuses to watch the video, indicating that he is trying to simply ignore the issue in the hope of that it will go away. At the same time, he is haunted by the incident and a paranoid feeling that he is personally implicated.
Themes
Racism, Stereotyping, and Police Brutality Theme Icon
Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility Theme Icon
At lunch, Jill asks to sit with Quinn. Jill asks if Quinn has seen Guzzo; although he doesn’t tell Jill this, Quinn has been avoiding him. Jill says that Mrs. Galluzzo’s defense of Paul “bugged the hell out of me.” Jill tells Quinn he should watch the video, but he responds that he was there and doesn’t need to see it again.
Quinn and Jill are largely on the same page, but Jill seems to be approaching the issue with more strength of mind and maturity. She knows that it is unsustainable and irresponsible for Quinn to ignore the video.
Themes
Racism, Stereotyping, and Police Brutality Theme Icon
Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility Theme Icon
Suddenly, Quinn remembers a time when, years ago, Paul had “kicked the shit out of” a kid called Marc Blair. However, that time Paul had done it on Quinn’s behalf. Quinn and Jill reflect that they have always thought of Paul as a “good guy,” and it’s therefore difficult to understand how this could have happened. Quinn asks if he can be seen in the video, and Jill chastises him for being self-centered. At the end of lunch, Quinn confesses that he feels Jill is the only person he can talk to about Rashad, and they briefly hold hands.
Quinn is slowly coming to a better understanding of what happened, as well as the surrounding issues of prejudice and police violence. However, both he and Jill still struggle with a simplistic view of whether people are “good” or not. They do not consider that it may be possible that Paul is a “good guy” to them because they are white and part of his (extended) family.
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
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After lunch, Quinn thinks about when Paul beat up Marc. Marc was an older kid who bullied Quinn; he once pressed Quinn’s face against a chain-link fence until he vomited. Suddenly, another memory occurs to Quinn, of a time when he saw an older black student wearing a Public Enemy t-shirt that read “Fear of a Black Planet.” He reflects on his own subconscious fears about black people. After Paul beat up Marc, he called him a “thug.” Quinn feels guilty about the role he played in this incident.
As a white person, part of Quinn’s journey toward fighting racism is acknowledging the ways in which racism affects his own thinking. Although Quinn might not be actively racist, he harbors semi-conscious and subconscious prejudices against black people. His realization of this makes him understand that he is complicit in racist incidents such as Rashad’s arrest.
Themes
Racism, Stereotyping, and Police Brutality Theme Icon
American Culture, Values, and Patriotism Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Heroes vs. Villains Theme Icon
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In Quinn’s next class, Ms. Webber announces that there has been a change of plan for that day’s lesson: they will work “quietly” on a practice test. During class, a white girl called Molly asks a black guy called EJ a question, and Ms. Webber scolds EJ. EJ responds: “Guilty until proven innocent… just like Rashad.” Ms. Webber, flustered, says she knows there’s “a student” in hospital but that they have to focus on the test. Molly responds by saying Rashad’s name. EJ joins in. Ms. Webber sends them both out, but Quinn can hear them shouting “Rashad, Rashad” out in the hallway.
The students at Springfield Central High are coming to terms with the way Rashad’s arrest was not an isolated, freak incident but rather connected to many other aspects of their day-to-day lives. Although Ms. Webber’s singling out of EJ is not nearly as severe as Paul’s beating of Rashad, they are all part of the same system of prejudice, oppression, and injustice.
Themes
Racism, Stereotyping, and Police Brutality Theme Icon
Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility Theme Icon
Someone else in class says “Paul Galluzzo.” Quinn is angry; he thinks that talking about Rashad’s arrest just makes it worse. At basketball practice, Quinn feels disproportionately aware of Shannon and English, because he knows they are close friends of Rashad. Coach Carney gives a speech about not getting too distracted by the scouts. He tells the team to leave all their other thoughts and problems at the door. Quinn wishes this were possible, and decides to try and follow Coach’s advice. He wants to forget about race and act as one “color-blind,” unified team. At the same time, he can’t help but feel that he is implicated in the “problem” of what happened to Rashad.
Quinn is understandably disturbed by the incident at Jerry’s and the tensions it has brought to the surface. However, his solution of trying to ignore the incident and pretend to be “color-blind” is misguided. Problems do not cease to exist simply because people ignore them. At the same time, Quinn’s thoughts are not simply an example of youthful naïveté. They are also held by Coach Carney, who believes it is possible (and desirable) for the team to forget about the outside world during practice.
Themes
Racism, Stereotyping, and Police Brutality Theme Icon
American Culture, Values, and Patriotism Theme Icon
Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility Theme Icon