American Street

American Street

by

Ibi Zoboi

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Pri/Princess François Character Analysis

Pri is one of Fabiola’s cousins; she’s Matant Jo and Phillip’s daughter, Donna’s twin, and Chantal’s younger sister. Like Fabiola, Pri and Donna are 16 years old. Fabiola is initially perplexed by Pri, who wears baggy clothes, binds her breasts to flatten them, and wants her braids to look like boys’, not girls’. But as Fabiola gets to know her cousin, she discovers that Pri takes on this look in part to project strength and danger to people who might want to mess with her or Chantal. Pri is fiercely protective of her twin, especially since Donna’s boyfriend, Dray, is physically abusive. Pri acts unafraid of Dray: she’s often willing to get in his face and yell at him when he brings Donna home with scratches or bruises. However, part of the reason why Pri is so willing to fight is because she’s angry about everything her family has had to deal with. She believes that all she can do is fight the people who want to harm her and her loved ones. Fabiola connects with Pri before she connects with any of her other cousins—and although Pri’s brisk, angry demeanor never changes, she’s the first to make overtures to Fabiola. However, when Fabiola discovers that her cousins are dealing drugs to make ends meet, Pri doesn’t think that Fabiola need to know anything and that her sisters’ dealing. Throughout the novel, Pri is very curious about Fabiola’s Vodou shrine, though she remains dismissive of Vodou’s effectiveness. The one good thing in Pri’s life is her crush on a girl named Taj. Though at first it seems like Pri is never going to confess her feelings and start a relationship with Taj, Fabiola eventually sees Taj and Pri together at a basketball game; Pri looks happier than Fabiola has ever seen her. Throughout the novel, Pri remains fiercely loyal to her family members—and by the end of the novel, this includes Fabiola too.

Pri/Princess François Quotes in American Street

The American Street quotes below are all either spoken by Pri/Princess François or refer to Pri/Princess François. 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:
Dignity and the American Dream Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Balzer + Bray edition of American Street published in 2017.
Princess’s Story Quotes

Ma named us Primadonna and Princess ‘cause she thought being born in America to a father with a good-paying job at a car factory and a house and a bright future meant that we would be royalty. But when our father got killed, that’s when shit fell apart.

Page Number: 44
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

She stares at the magic things for a while without touching them before she asks, “Does it work?”

“Well,” I say. “Has anyone ever tried to kill you?” I have to speak loudly over the music.

Pri turns around and closes the bedroom door, muting the music a bit.

“Kill me? Ain’t nobody rolling up in this house to kill anyone.”

“I know. We made it so. Me and my mother. Every day we asked the lwas to protect our family in Detroit and their house,” I say, adjusting my bra.

Page Number: 76
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 14 Quotes

But I don’t want to look like a church lady. I still want to look...good. So I take off my mother’s church dress and put on a plain sweatshirt that belongs to Chantal and a pair of new jeans. I wear the Air Jordans that Pri picked out for me, but I keep my hairstyle. Now I don’t look so...Haitian. So immigrant.

Page Number: 138
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 32 Quotes

We are all in white. Even Pri has shed her dark clothes and now wears a white turtleneck and pants. I had wrapped my cousins and aunt in white sheets after making a healing bath of herbs and Florida water for each one, and let them curl into themselves and cry and cry. This is what Manman had done for our neighbors who survived the big earthquake. The bath is like a baptism, and if black is the color of mourning, then white is the color of rebirth and new beginnings.

Page Number: 321
Explanation and Analysis:
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American Street PDF

Pri/Princess François Character Timeline in American Street

The timeline below shows where the character Pri/Princess François appears in American Street. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Identity and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...faces that are both Black and white. She wonders how she’ll recognize her cousins Chantal, Princess, and Primadonna, since they haven’t seen each other since Fabiola, Princess, and Primadonna were babies.... (full context)
Dignity and the American Dream Theme Icon
Identity and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...Chantal asks where Manman is, but Fabiola can only shake her head. Fabiola realizes that Primadonna is only so tall because she’s wearing fancy high heels. She introduces herself as Donna,... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Chantal, Pri, and Donna step aside to speak in fast English. After a minute, Chantal takes Fabiola’s... (full context)
Chapter 3
Dignity and the American Dream Theme Icon
...herself in the rearview mirror from the passenger seat. In the backseat next to Fabiola, Pri stares at her phone. Everything is silent until Chantal turns the music up loud enough... (full context)
Dignity and the American Dream Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
...but then she uses another Creole word. Matant Jo shouts at Fabiola to use English. Pri argues that Matant Jo shouldn’t be so hard on Fabiola, since she now has a... (full context)
Spirituality Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Identity and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
Matant Jo leads Fabiola into the kitchen while Pri, Donna, and Chantal turn on the TV in the living room. Fabiola loves that her... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Identity and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...finds only condiments and frozen pizza. She grabs a slice of cheese and jumps when Pri comes into the kitchen. Pri says it’s time for bed, since Fabiola will start school... (full context)
Dignity and the American Dream Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
...whether they had electricity. Chantal asks if they still have latrines in Haiti, but then Pri yells for them to stop talking about poop. The sisters yell at each other until... (full context)
Chapter 4
Spirituality Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Identity and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...bra and asks for a pair of tights. Surprisingly, Donna looks fine after last night. Pri comes in behind her and asks Fabiola if she knows how to braid. While Donna... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Pri comes downstairs dressed in baggy khakis and an oversized white button up. She asks Fabiola... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Identity and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
Fabiola wants to twist Pri’s lips for using such foul language, but she takes her time with the braids. She... (full context)
Princess’s Story
Dignity and the American Dream Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
Princess says that Matant Jo gave her and Primadonna their names because she figured that being... (full context)
Chapter 5
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Identity and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...away, but Imani follows and explains that people expect Fabiola to be the Fourth Bee. Pri has been telling everyone to not mess with Fabiola. Fabiola tries to hide her smile... (full context)
Chapter 6
Dignity and the American Dream Theme Icon
Identity and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...she carries it in her purse. It makes her feel more American. On Friday, Chantal, Pri, and Donna have errands to run, so they ask Fabiola to wait for an hour... (full context)
Chapter 7
Spirituality Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
...Manman won’t believe that Fabiola has been hungrier in Detroit than she ever was in Port-au-Prince. Fabiola and her cousins are going to a birthday party tonight, so Fabiola has on... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
...Fabiola’s hair and makeup—when she’s done, Fabiola has fake hair, fake eyelashes, and perfect eyebrows. Pri and Matant Jo applaud the transformation, but Chantal shakes her head. Fabiola wonders if putting... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
As Pri drags Fabiola inside, Fabiola locks eyes with a vagabon—it’s the boy who helped Bad Leg,... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Identity and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...because she’s self-conscious about her short dress. She wishes that Chantal were here. Fabiola watches Pri dance in the middle of a circle, and when Fabiola tries to mimic Pri’s fast... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
...comes on, Fabiola’s heart beats fast—she feels as though Manman is watching her. She notices Pri staring from across the room, which makes Kasim laugh. He asks if Fabiola is going... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
...realizes that she’s alone. Kasim brings her coat to her and leads her outside. There, Pri is yelling at Dray while Donna crouches on the ground. Everyone stares as Pri shouts... (full context)
Chapter 8
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
Once Donna is tucked into bed, Fabiola and Pri play cards while Chantal reads. Fabiola asks if Dray hits Donna—after all, Bad Leg’s song... (full context)
Chapter 9
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
...ago, she left for six days to find her father’s killer. After school that day, Pri won’t leave Fabiola alone. Pri says that bad things happen to girls who get snatched... (full context)
Spirituality Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
When Pri walks over to some other girls, Fabiola knows she’s not the Fourth Bee. She decides... (full context)
Dignity and the American Dream Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
...why she’s still here and opens the passenger door for her. Kasim tell her that Pri is downtown, making sure Fabiola didn’t get on a bus to New Jersey, so Fabiola... (full context)
Dignity and the American Dream Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
...be a “baller” like Dray and Matant Jo. He calls Fabiola Fabulous and then calls Pri on his cell phone. He hands the phone to Fabiola, but she hands it back... (full context)
Chapter 11
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Pri warns Fabiola to not have sex with Kasim too fast, while Donna yells from the... (full context)
Chapter 12
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
...card on the table, Fabiola is certain that Detective Stevens knows where she lives. Chantal, Pri, and Donna certainly won’t want to talk to Detective Stevens, since they know Dray— but... (full context)
Chapter 13
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
...for posting pictures on Instagram of himself with Imani. Fabiola tries to stop Donna, but Pri pulls her back. (full context)
Spirituality Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
...she lives. In a rush, Imani gives Chantal her address and asks her to tell Pri and Donna to not beat her up. Pri rushes away, muttering that Donna will come... (full context)
Primadonna’s Story
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Identity and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
...always given Donna everything she needs—he looks out for her. It’s different from the way Pri looks out for Donna. Pri calls Donna a “ho,” and Donna knows her twin is... (full context)
Chapter 14
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
...insists that Fabiola looks like Rosa Parks and storms out when Fabiola refuses makeup too. Pri cackles. Fabiola adds lip gloss and pulls on one of Manman’s dresses, but she changes... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Identity and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...to make Kasim bring her back if he’s going to take her to his house. Pri tells Fabiola to practice the phrase, “Take me the fuck home!” Fabiola knows that Pri... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Identity and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
...and she’s shocked when Kasim says he knows all about “Haitian Phil.” He says that Pri talks about Phillip all the time and makes sure that everyone knows that her father... (full context)
Chapter 17
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
...just trying to help with school, not steal Dray. Donna says that she’s aware, and Pri explains that as the Three Bees, it’s their job to make people afraid. (full context)
Spirituality Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
...to look good for Kasim. Chantal explains that Dray tried to butter up her and Pri like this too. Pri sighs that sometimes, she wishes Fabiola wasn’t with Kasim, since he’s... (full context)
Chapter 18
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Identity and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...won. Matant Jo is with her male friends again and is unimpressed, but Chantal and Pri are shocked. Fabiola allows Donna to dress her in tight clothes and follows her to... (full context)
Chapter 19
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Spirituality Theme Icon
Under the door, Fabiola sees Pri’s socks and Matant Jo’s slippers converge around Donna to protect her, and Matant Jo shouts... (full context)
Chapter 20
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
...when, out of the blue, a girl comes up and asks if Fabiola is Fabulous, Pri’s cousin. Fabiola says that she is, and the girl introduces herself as Tonesha and says... (full context)
Spirituality Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
...afternoon. Fabiola gets in slowly, so that Tonesha sees her. Fabiola and Kasim kiss, and Pri pounds on the hood as she passes. Fabiola tells Kasim about her altercation with Tonesha... (full context)
Chapter 21
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
...goes to the window to look out, Chantal whispers for Fabiola to get down. Chantal, Pri, and Donna are all up; they tell Fabiola to stay upstairs while they answer the... (full context)
Dignity and the American Dream Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
...needs more as “insurance” to protect himself, since the girls “g[o]t that white girl killed.” Pri insists that it’s Uncle Q’s fault the girl died, since he sold them bad drugs.... (full context)
Dignity and the American Dream Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
...money. He insists that he needs the money by the end of the month, taps Pri on the temple, and curses at her when she pushes him away. Chantal and Donna... (full context)
Dignity and the American Dream Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Identity and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Chantal shushes the twins and points to the ceiling, but Pri leaps up and finds Fabiola at the top of the stairs. Pri tells Fabiola to... (full context)
Dignity and the American Dream Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
...money. Chantal explains that Uncle Q was like a father to them after Phillip died. Pri snaps that Uncle Q isn’t going to let $15,000 slide, but Chantal turns back to... (full context)
Dignity and the American Dream Theme Icon
Spirituality Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Identity and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...shark anymore—but they have to make money to live. Fabiola asks what they do now. Pri tells Fabiola to stay silent, and Chantal insists that Fabiola just focus on graduating high... (full context)
Chapter 22
Dignity and the American Dream Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Identity and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...money, and the forms that Manman filled out got her nowhere. One night, Fabiola hears Pri singing about Taj in the shower. When Fabiola asks how Pri will know if Taj... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
...all the bad, scary things happening. She rejects a call from Detective Stevens and tells Pri that the number is Imani’s. Pri teases Fabiola about trying to distance herself from all... (full context)
Dignity and the American Dream Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
...Dray and Kasim arrive. Though Dray tries to talk to Donna, she ignores him while Pri, Chantal, and Matant Jo get in Dray’s face. Meanwhile, Kasim asks Fabiola if he can... (full context)
Chapter 23
Dignity and the American Dream Theme Icon
Identity and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...what the holiday was. Matant Jo has been busy planning the meal with Fabiola; Chantal, Pri, and Donna make requests but don’t help. At first, Matant Jo seems competent and in... (full context)
Identity and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Finally, everyone stands around the table, holding hands. Both Pri and Matant Jo thank God for Fabiola’s presence, and Fabiola sobs. She cries in part... (full context)
Chapter 24
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
...for a school basketball game. She sits between Imani and another friend, ogling the players. Pri and Donna sit down in front of Fabiola, and Donna whips her braids back to... (full context)
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
...head. Donna tells him that that he’s disrespecting her by trying to start something. Then, Pri stands up, grabs Donna, and threatens to cut her off if she goes back to... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
...Dray really is sorry and does love Donna, but she knows this is a lie. Pri looks at Fabiola and shakes her head. Kasim tells Fabiola to not worry about Donna... (full context)
Dignity and the American Dream Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
...can barely pay for school. Donna doesn’t know the difference between love and abuse, while Pri fights everything. Dray and Uncle Q are in the middle of all of this. Fabiola... (full context)
Chapter 25
Dignity and the American Dream Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
...close to Imani and her friends as they walk to the bus stop. She texts Pri to let her know where she is and looks for Pri when she hears a... (full context)
Chapter 26
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
Fabiola’s entire body hurts. She can’t follow anything that Pri and Donna say, but she does hear Ms. Stanley say that Matant Jo will have... (full context)
Dignity and the American Dream Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
Fabiola asks if Tonesha and Raquel got hurt, but Pri insists they can’t say the girls’ names—they’ll refer to them now as “Ugly Bitch and... (full context)
Chapter 27
Spirituality Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Identity and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...to happen. Chantal calls Donna’s cellphone, and the twins appear to hear Fabiola’s news. Then, Pri gets up, looks out the window, and snaps to turn the lights off. Bad Leg... (full context)
Chapter 29
Spirituality Theme Icon
...call Dray—she needs to know if he’s at the party in Grosse Pointe. Chantal and Pri ask what’s going on and why Dray would be at the party. Trembling, Chantal asks... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
Fabiola keeps her head pressed on the dashboard as she tells her cousins everything. Pri wants to punch Fabiola but doesn’t. Quietly, Donna says that she’s going to call Dray—she... (full context)
Dignity and the American Dream Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
...the girls see lights from police cars and ambulances on the street of the party. Pri insists they can’t get closer, but Chantal suggests they wait and take Kasim home with... (full context)
Chapter 30
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
Everyone cries in the car. Fabiola wails, and Pri curses. When they reach the house, they see Dray sitting on the steps. Donna offers... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
...the keys, tells her to get inside, and shouts at Dray to talk to her, Pri, and Donna—not Fabiola. Dray flashes a gun, but Fabiola darts past him and into the... (full context)
Spirituality Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
Dray grabs Fabiola by the hair and arms and drags her out of the room. Pri, Chantal, and Donna grab Fabiola and pull her back. Fabiola digs at Dray’s arms, even... (full context)
Chapter 31
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
...can say is Kasim’s name. Chantal brings Fabiola back into the house. They stand with Pri and watch Donna cry over Dray’s body. Fabiola thinks that she never got to sob... (full context)
Chapter 32
Spirituality Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
...the story of the Four Bees now. Chantal is the brains, Donna is the beauty, Pri is the brawn, and Fabiola is brave. The girls all try to make themselves small... (full context)
Dignity and the American Dream Theme Icon
Spirituality Theme Icon
Identity and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
On the morning that Fabiola and her family will pick up Manman, Fabiola helps Pri load two suitcases into the car. It’s freezing cold outside, and Fabiola’s fingers burn. Earlier,... (full context)
Spirituality Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon
Pri goes back inside the house, and Fabiola looks around. She catches sight of Bad Leg... (full context)