American Street

American Street


Ibi Zoboi

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American Street: Chapter 19 Summary & Analysis

Dray is so angry that the house seems to shake. He’s downstairs, shouting for Donna—earlier, Donna cursed him out for cheating and getting caught by police. Matant Jo tries to make Dray leave, but he refuses. Matant Jo and Pri threaten Dray, but they also tell Donna to come talk to him. Donna appears and shouts that Dray got busted with a white girl. She tells him to get out, but Dray runs up the stairs. Through the gap under Chantal’s door, Fabiola watches Pri’s stocking feet approach Dray’s boots. Barefoot, Donna steps up to Dray and asks if Uncle Q had to bail out the white girl, if the girl is “moving weight,” or if she’s just around for occasional sex. Fabiola concludes that her information for Detective Stevens was no good if Dray was arrested and released.
Though Dray is outnumbered, the difference between his footwear and the women’s symbolizes the fact that he’s still far more powerful. With his boots, Dray has the power to crush the girls’ bare and stocking-clad feet. The fact that Fabiola watches this altercation under the door and has this view of it allows her to clearly identify the power structure. Even if Pri puts on a good show of strength, she’s still nowhere close to powerful enough to take on Dray. Her combative nature might make her seem more powerful, but it’s merely an illusion. 
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Under the door, Fabiola sees Pri’s socks and Matant Jo’s slippers converge around Donna to protect her, and Matant Jo shouts for Dray to get out. Dray goes back downstairs and shouts that he loves Donna. As Dray goes to his car, Fabiola meets his eyes from her window. She stares at him and thinks that she’ll destroy him. He’s digging his own grave, but she’s ready to push him in.
As frightening as this situation was, Fabiola is still able to make it more manageable by putting this in terms of Vodou. Because Fabiola is praying and working with Papa Legba, she knows that she’ll be able to best Dray and send him back to the underworld where he belongs.
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