American Street

American Street


Ibi Zoboi

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American Street: Primadonna’s Story Summary & Analysis

Donna says that she and Dray have been together since she was 12. Even at times when they were broken up, Dray has 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 joking, but it still hurts—especially because Dray is the only person Donna has ever had sex with. Donna remembers how, when she was 10, some of Matant Jo’s male friends told Donna she’d be promiscuous because she looked sexy. Other men would tell Matant Jo to carry a gun to keep the boys away. In reality, Dray was the one who had a gun to keep the guys away. He put one guy in the hospital for spreading rumors about Donna, and then he bought Donna a diamond necklace. The two of them have been Dungeons and Dragons ever since.
Donna sees her relationship with Dray as something necessary and positive—when no one else looks out for her, Dray does. This shows how the stressful, violent nature of life in Detroit can push a young woman like Donna to justify an abusive relationship as her only option. Donna’s story also shows that she had to grow up too fast, just like Chantal did. For Donna, this was largely due with Dray and the other people who were judging and pressuring her.
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Identity and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Trauma, Violence, and Desperation Theme Icon