All American Boys

by

Jason Reynolds

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Ma is Quinn and Willy’s mom (we never learn her first name). She works long night shifts at a warehouse, and struggles with the burdens of being a widow and a single mother raising her children on a low income. She is loving but can be strict with Quinn, often reminding him of the importance of living up to his father’s legacy. Although she at first opposes Quinn’s participation in the protest, he is able to persuade her that his father would have supported Quinn standing up for his principles.

Ma Quotes in All American Boys

The All American Boys quotes below are all either spoken by Ma or refer to Ma. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Racism, Stereotyping, and Police Brutality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Atheneum edition of All American Boys published in 2015.
4. Saturday: Quinn Quotes

I begin almost every day the same way: Ma's voice in my head, telling me what I needed to do, what I needed to think about, how I needed to act. But on mornings like this one––or if Coach Carney was making us do suicides up and down the court for fifteen minutes, or when Dwyer dropped another five-pounder on either side of the bar on my last rep in the weight room––it was Dad's voice in my head, or at least what I thought was his voice. I hadn't heard it in so long, I couldn’t even tell if it was his or if I was making it up. Whatever it was, it got me to where I needed to get.

PUSH! If you don't, someone else will. LIFT! If you don't, someone else will. Faster faster, faster, faster FASTER!

Related Characters: Quinn Collins (speaker), Ma, Quinn’s Father, Dwyer, Coach Carney
Related Symbols: Basketball
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:
7. Monday: Quinn Quotes

“I mean, it's Paul. This is the same guy I’ve seen carrying my mom up the front steps, for God's sake.” I was thinking about that time Ma got trashed because it was her first wedding anniversary without Dad. Paul had been so

gentle. He'd taken the frigging day off just so she didn’t have to spend it alone. “She was tanked,” I said to Jill. “And he helped her home. I remember him putting her down on the couch and pulling the afghan over her.”

“Paulie's always been the good guy.”

“That's what I want to think.”

Related Characters: Quinn Collins (speaker), Jill (speaker), Paul Galluzzo , Ma, Quinn’s Father
Page Number: 129
Explanation and Analysis:
13. Thursday: Quinn Quotes

I'd been thinking about that all day, but I didn’t have the words for it until Ma brought up Dad. Everybody wanted me to be loyal. Ma wanted me to be loyal. Guzzo wanted me to be loyal. Paul wanted me to be loyal. Your dad was loyal to the end, they'd all tell me. Loyal to his country, loyal to his family, they meant. But it wasn't about loyalty. It was about him standing up for what he believed in. And I wanted to be my dad's son. Someone who believed a better world was possible––someone who stood up for it.

Related Characters: Quinn Collins (speaker), Paul Galluzzo , Ma, Quinn’s Father, Guzzo
Page Number: 267
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire All American Boys LitChart as a printable PDF.
All American Boys PDF

Ma Character Timeline in All American Boys

The timeline below shows where the character Ma appears in All American Boys. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
2. Friday: Quinn
American Culture, Values, and Patriotism Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility Theme Icon
Heroes vs. Villains Theme Icon
...overnight bag, Quinn takes a flaskful of his mother’s bourbon. Quinn’s mother, who he calls Ma, works 12-hour night shifts at a warehouse. As Quinn and Willy walk over to the... (full context)
4. Saturday: Quinn
American Culture, Values, and Patriotism Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility Theme Icon
Heroes vs. Villains Theme Icon
Ma asks what’s wrong, and Quinn tells her it’s nothing. He explains that he needs to... (full context)
American Culture, Values, and Patriotism Theme Icon
Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility 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... (full context)
6. Sunday: Quinn
American Culture, Values, and Patriotism Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility Theme Icon
Heroes vs. Villains Theme Icon
...had stayed in watching a movie and playing video games with Willy. On Sunday, he, Ma, and Willy head over to the Galluzzos’ barbecue. When Ma announces the arrival of her... (full context)
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility Theme Icon
...Eventually, Quinn grows frustrated and goes back inside, saying quick goodbyes to Mrs. Galluzzo and Ma before heading home. (full context)
13. Thursday: Quinn
Racism, Stereotyping, and Police Brutality Theme Icon
American Culture, Values, and Patriotism Theme Icon
Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility Theme Icon
...points to his shirt and says, “This bullshit… has to stop.” He threatens to call Ma, which terrifies Quinn. Quinn leaves the locker room and runs into Guzzo, who immediately punches... (full context)
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
That night, Ma freaks out at Quinn’s busted-up face and asks what he did. Willy points out that... (full context)
15. Friday: Quinn
Racism, Stereotyping, and Police Brutality Theme Icon
American Culture, Values, and Patriotism Theme Icon
Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility Theme Icon
Heroes vs. Villains Theme Icon
...cops around him. He then points the camera at himself and addresses Will, saying that Ma is always telling them to “take responsibility,” but that doesn’t just mean getting good grades... (full context)