Long Way Down


Jason Reynolds

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The Elevator

The elevator in Will’s building represents his sense of feeling trapped—trapped by “the Rules” of his violent neighborhood, and trapped in his grief over his brother Shawn’s death. Most of all, Will feels…

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The L Button

The L (lobby) button in the elevator symbolizes, much like the elevator itself, the horrendous fate that awaits Will if he chooses to step out of the elevator and into the lobby. Once Will reaches…

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The Gun

Shawn’s pistol broadly represents the cycle of violence prevalent in his and Will’s community, and the ways in which that cycle of violence corrupts young men and deprives them of their innocence. The…

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The Middle Drawer

The middle drawer of Shawn’s dresser symbolizes the darkness and danger in Shawn himself. Will explains that the broken middle drawer was the only thing out of place on Shawn’s neat and tidy half…

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