American Street

American Street

by

Ibi Zoboi

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American Street: Kasim’s Story Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Kasim says that Dray used to call him a mama’s boy, because Kasim’s mom used to kiss Kasim when she dropped him off for school. He wasn’t spoiled, though; at home, he had lots of chores. Kasim admits that he did some things that would hurt his mom’s heart just to get the other guys off his back, but he hated it. Fortunately, Dray has been looking out for Kasim since Kasim was in kindergarten and Dray was in third grade. Once Dray’s dad left, Uncle Q stepped in to care for Kasim. Now, Uncle Q is like a father. Kasim doesn’t even miss his dad, who’s in Memphis. Maybe he’ll go down to Memphis once he’s married to have “little half-Haitian revolutionary babies.” Kasim admits that he’s never felt this way about a girl before. He’d finish college for Fabiola and buy her a house.
Through Kasim’s story, readers get a look at a different type of life in Detroit than Fabiola’s cousins lead. But even though Kasim and his mom are doing better financially than Fabiola’s family, Kasim still had to things that Fabiola probably wouldn’t like—hence why he doesn’t elaborate on what exactly he did to prove himself to other guys in the neighborhood. And again, Kasim makes it clear that Uncle Q is and will always be a major figure in his life, just because Uncle Q was there when Kasim’s dad wasn’t. An important of being a family, this suggests, is simply being present.
Themes
Dignity and the American Dream Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon