Pigeon English

by

Stephen Kelman

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Harrison Opoku (Harri) Character Analysis

Harrison Opoku, nicknamed “Harri,” is the protagonist and narrator of the novel. He is eleven years old, in Year 7 at school, and has recently moved to London from Accra, Ghana. He is curious, good-natured, and innocent, although at times finds it difficult to maintain this innocence in the face of pervasive peer pressure, crime, and violence. Harri is notable for overlooking prejudice; he loves pigeons even though other characters think they are dirty, and he befriends Altaf, who is shunned by the other kids for being Somali. Harri experiences prejudice as a recent immigrant from Ghana, along with the anti-black racism of characters like Vilis. To deflect and combat such bullying, Harri considers X-Fire’s invitation to join the Dell Farm Crew. However, Harri knows that the DFC’s actions fundamentally oppose the Christian values he was raised with. Harri has an antagonistic relationship with his older sister Lydia, although it is also clear that they also love each other very much. He adores his baby sister Agnes and looks up to Papa. He cannot wait until the family is reunited in London. Harri has a crush on Poppy Morgan, and eventually they become boyfriend and girlfriend—a relationship that is filled with innocence and joy. Alongside his friend Dean, Harri investigates the dead boy’s murder. This eventually gets them into trouble with the Dell Farm Crew and (implicitly) leads Harri to being stabbed and killed at the end of the novel by an unknown attacker—likely Killa.

Harrison Opoku (Harri) Quotes in Pigeon English

The Pigeon English quotes below are all either spoken by Harrison Opoku (Harri) or refer to Harrison Opoku (Harri) . 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:
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Bloomsbury edition of Pigeon English published in 2011.
March Quotes

I live in Copenhagen House. My flat is on floor 9 out of 14. It's not even hutious. I can look from the window now and my belly doesn't even turn over.

I love going in the lift, it's brutal, especially when you're the only one in there. Then you could be a spirit or a spy. You even forget the pissy smell because you're going so fast.

It's proper windy at the bottom like a whirlpool. If you stand at the bottom where the tower meets the ground and put your arms out, you can pretend like you're a bird. You can feel the wind try to pick you up, it's nearly like flying.

Related Characters: Harrison Opoku (Harri) (speaker)
Related Symbols: Pigeons
Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:

The flowers on the coffin said Son and Forever. But it felt like Forever was already finished. It felt like somebody took it away when they killed the dead boy. It's not supposed to happen. Children aren't supposed to die, only old people. It even made me worried for if I was next. I spat out the rest of my Atomic Apple Hubba Bubba for if I swallowed it by mistake and my guts all got stuck together.

Related Characters: Harrison Opoku (Harri) (speaker), The Dead Boy
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:

We're proper detectives now. It's a personal mission. The dead boy even told the rogues to leave me alone one time when they were hooting me for wearing ankle-freezers (that's when the legs of your trousers are too short). I didn't even ask him, he just helped me for no reason. Wanted him to be my friend after that but he got killed before it came true. That's why I have to help him now, he was my friend even if he didn't know about it. He was my first friend who got killed and it hurts too much to forget.

Related Characters: Harrison Opoku (Harri) (speaker), The Dead Boy
Page Number: 47-48
Explanation and Analysis:
April Quotes

Altaf is very quiet. Nobody really knows him. You're not supposed to talk to Somalis because they're pirates. Everybody agrees. If you talk to them you might give away a clue to where you keep your treasure and the next

thing you know, your wife has been strangled alive and they're throwing you to the sharks. Me and Altaf don't have to go to RE. Mamma doesn't want me to hear about the false gods, she says it's a waste of time, and Altaf's mamma thinks the same thing.

Related Characters: Harrison Opoku (Harri) (speaker), Mamma, Altaf
Page Number: 52
Explanation and Analysis:

Some rules I have learned from my new school:

No running on the stairs.

No singing in class.

Always put your hand up before you ask a question.

Don't swallow the gum or it will get stuck in your guts and you'll die.

Jumping in the puddle means you're a retard (I don't even agree with this one).

Going around the puddle means you're a girl.

The last one in close the door.

The first one to answer the question loves the teacher.

If a girl looks at you three times in a row it means she loves you.

If you look at her back you love her.

He who smelt it dealt it.

He who denied it supplied it.

He who sensed it dispensed it.

He who knew it blew it.

He who noted it floated it.

He who declared it aired it.

He who spoke it broke it.

He who exposed it composed it.

He who blamed it flamed it.

(All these are just for farts.)

If you look at the back of a mirror you'll see the devil.

Don't eat the soup. The dinner ladies pissed in it.

Don't lend Ross Kelly your pen. He picks his arse klinkers with it.

Keep to the left (everywhere). The right is out of bounds.

The library stairs are safe.

If he wears a pinky ring he's a gay (a pinky ring is a ring on your little finger).

If she wears a bracelet on her ankle she's a lesbian (shags it up with other ladies).

Related Characters: Harrison Opoku (Harri) (speaker)
Page Number: 63-64
Explanation and Analysis:

In football nobody used to pass to me. I thought it meant they hated me. Then I found out it's because I used the wrong command. Instead of saying pass to me you have to say man on. Apart from that the rules are the same as where I used to live. Vilis still doesn't pass to me but I don't care. Where he comes from (Latvia) they burn black people into tar and make roads out of them. Everybody agrees.

Related Characters: Harrison Opoku (Harri) (speaker), Vilis
Page Number: 73-74
Explanation and Analysis:

Auntie Sonia burned her fingers to get the fingerprints off. Now she has no fingerprints at all. It's so if the police catch her they can't send her away. Your fingerprints tell them who you are. If you have no fingerprints, you can't be

anybody. Then they don't know where you belong so they can't send you back. Then they have to let you stay.

Related Characters: Harrison Opoku (Harri) (speaker), Auntie Sonia
Related Symbols: Fingerprints
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:

Auntie Sonia hasn't even done anything bad. She's never killed anybody or stolen anything. She just likes to go to different places. She likes to see the different things there. Some of the countries won't let you in if you're black. You have to sneak in. When you're in you just act like everybody else. Auntie Sonia only does the same things as them. She goes to work and shopping. She eats her dinner and goes to the park.

Related Characters: Harrison Opoku (Harri) (speaker), Auntie Sonia
Related Symbols: Fingerprints
Page Number: 93-94
Explanation and Analysis:
May Quotes

I just wanted to get your attention, Harri, get you out of another mess. I'm trying to help you while I still can, I'm trying my best but there's only so much I can do from here […] Home will always find you if you walk true and taller than those weeds. You can be a tree, you can be as big as you want to be.

Related Characters: Harrison Opoku (Harri)
Related Symbols: Pigeons
Page Number: 119
Explanation and Analysis:

In England nobody helps you if you fall over. They can't tell if you're serious or if it's just a trick. It's too hard to know what's real.

Related Characters: Harrison Opoku (Harri) (speaker), Mr. Frimpong
Page Number: 130
Explanation and Analysis:

Wars

Kids vs Teachers

Northwell Manor High vs Leabridge High

Dell Farm Crew vs Lewsey Hill Crew

Emos vs Sunshine

Turkey vs Russia

Arsenal vs Chelsea

Black vs White

Police vs Kids

God vs Allah

Chicken Joe's vs KFC

Cats vs Dogs

Aliens vs Predators

Related Characters: Harrison Opoku (Harri) (speaker)
Page Number: 133
Explanation and Analysis:
June Quotes

Signs of guilt include:

Ants in your pant

Talking too fast

Always looking around you like you've lost something

Smoking too much

Crying too much

Scratching

Biting your fingers

Spitting

Sudden bouts of violence

Uncontrolled gas (farting a lot)

Religious hysteria

Related Characters: Harrison Opoku (Harri) (speaker), Dean
Page Number: 155-156
Explanation and Analysis:

I wonder what Heaven is really like. Is it different for kids than for grown-ups. Like would there still be somebody there telling him to come in

from playing football when it got too dark. The dead boy could do the most tricks, he could flick the ball up with his heel and keep it up for donkey hours with both feet. He always aimed his shots for the corners like you're supposed

to and he was even good at heading. He was good at everything. I wonder if there's dogs like Asbo who steal your ball. That would be funny. I hope in Heaven the animals can all talk, then they can tell you when they're happy so

you don't have to guess. You can usually tell from the eyes but it only works on bigger animals, not pigeons or flies. Their eyes only look sad.

Related Characters: Harrison Opoku (Harri) (speaker), The Dead Boy
Related Symbols: Pigeons, Heaven
Page Number: 169
Explanation and Analysis:

If Agnes dies I'll just swap places with her. She can have my life. I'll give it to her and I'll die instead. I wouldn't mind because I've already lived for a long time. Agnes has only lived for one year and some. I hope God lets me. I don't

mind going to Heaven early. If he wants me to swap places, I will. I just hope I can try Haribo Horror Mix first (they're my favourite of all the Haribo styles. The sweets are all crazy shapes, like bats and spiders and ghosts. Mamma says it's against God but she just worries too much).

Related Characters: Harrison Opoku (Harri) (speaker), Agnes
Related Symbols: Pigeons, Heaven
Page Number: 171
Explanation and Analysis:

I love it when you get a good surprise. Like the cement being there just waiting for us to write in it or like when you think somebody will be rubbish at something and then you find out they're actually brilliant at it. It was the same with Manik: nobody suspected him to be such a good goalie because he's so fat, but actually Manik's a brilliant goalie. It's impossible to score against him. Nothing ever gets past him […] I didn't think Dean would be such a good climber because he has orange hair. I just didn't suspect it. But actually he's a brilliant climber.

Related Characters: Harrison Opoku (Harri) (speaker), Lydia, Dean, Manik
Page Number: 211
Explanation and Analysis:
July Quotes

Fingerprints are just for feeling with and to help you hold onto things when they're wet. They don't really mean anything. If you didn't have fingerprints you could be anyone you wanted.

Related Characters: Harrison Opoku (Harri) (speaker), Auntie Sonia
Related Symbols: Fingerprints
Page Number: 219
Explanation and Analysis:

I ran fast. I ran down the hill and through the tunnel. I shouted:

Me: 'Poppy I love you!'

It made a mighty echo. Nobody else heard it.

I ran past the real church. I ran past the cross.

I ran past the Jubilee.

I ran past the CCTV camera. I let it snap me for luck.

I ran past the other pigeons. I pretended they called hello to me.

Me: 'Pigeons I love you!'

It didn't even feel stupid, it felt brilliant. I ran past the playground and the dead climbing frame. I was running superfast. I was going faster than I've ever gone, my feet were just a blur. Nobody could ever catch me, I was going

to break the world record.

Related Characters: Harrison Opoku (Harri) (speaker), Poppy Morgan
Related Symbols: Pigeons
Page Number: 261
Explanation and Analysis:

Pigeon: 'Don't worry, you'll be going home soon. When it's time to go I'll show you the way.'

Me: 'Can't I stay here?'

Pigeon: 'It's not up to me. You've been called home.'

Me: 'It hurts. Do you work for God?'

Pigeon: 'I'm sorry if it hurts. It won't be long now.'

Me: 'I like your feet. They're nice and scratchy. I like all your colours.'

Pigeon: 'Thank you. I like you too, I always did. There's nothing to be scared of.'

Related Characters: Harrison Opoku (Harri) (speaker)
Related Symbols: Pigeons, Heaven
Page Number: 263
Explanation and Analysis:

You could see the blood. It was darker than you thought. It just felt too crazy, I couldn't keep my eyes open. I just wanted to remember, if I could remember it would be alright. Agnes's tiny fat fingers and face. I couldn't see it anymore. All babies look the same.

Related Characters: Harrison Opoku (Harri) (speaker), Agnes
Page Number: 263
Explanation and Analysis:
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Harrison Opoku (Harri) Character Timeline in Pigeon English

The timeline below shows where the character Harrison Opoku (Harri) appears in Pigeon English. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
March
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Harri sees blood outside Chicken Joe’s, and Jordan offers him one pound to touch it. Harri... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Harri leaves a bouncy ball for the dead boy; Jordan leaves a pebble he found on... (full context)
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Harri observes that in England, there are lots of different words that mean the same thing.... (full context)
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
On the phone, Harri tells Papa that a pigeon flew into their flat, and that Lydia was scared. Harri... (full context)
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Harri’s baby sister Agnes is still in Ghana, where Grandma Ama takes care of her. Once... (full context)
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Harri once saw a dead person at the Kaneshie market in Accra. A woman selling oranges... (full context)
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
On the first day of Harri’s new school in London, Manik’s papa shows Harri how to tie his school tie. Manik’s... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
X-Fire demonstrates how to stab someone using his fingers. Harri is “the dead boy.” X-Fire explains that it’s best to stab someone in a soft... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Harri and his family always go to the market on Saturdays. His favorite shop is the... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Harri is frightened by X-Fire’s dog, Harvey, but likes Terry Takeaway’s dog, Asbo, who is “funny... (full context)
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Harri loves to pee into the toilet just after Mamma bleaches it because he can pretend... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
When Harri gets home from school, there many police officers looking around the bushes and bins. One... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
In music, Harri’s class plays the drums. He teaches Poppy Morgan how to play the bass drum, and... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
That night after Mamma and Lydia fall asleep, Harri goes out to the balcony and pours flour on the handrail. He almost spits down... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
 Harri is “the man of the house,” so it’s his job to scare away “invaders.” If... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
...She said it was his fault he was killed because “he shouldn’t have been fronting.” Harri tells her she doesn’t know what she’s talking about and that the killer stabbed the... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
...NO DOGS… NO SKATEBOARDS… NO SMOKING… NO BALL GAMES.” Beneath, someone has added “NO FUGLIES.” Harri explains that fuglies are girls who immediately get pregnant after you only kiss them. They... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
...best detectives in America, and that they are “real,” not just on TV. Dean tells Harri about the high-tech methods the CSI detectives use to solve crimes, and Harri suggests that... (full context)
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Harri explains that dead babies must be named in order to get into heaven. If the... (full context)
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Harri searches for footprints by the bins but can’t find any. At break time, he jumps... (full context)
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
The dead boy’s coffin has a Chelsea Football Club badge on it. Harri thinks his funeral seems very sad because his family is all dressed in black, it... (full context)
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
...or a taxi. There is singing and dancing, and everyone is allowed to join in. Harri whispers that the dead boy’s coffin should have been a football boot and thinks that... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
...rain, and a man attending the funeral shouts at him to watch where he’s going. Harri thinks there’s going to be a fight, but Killa just cycles away. Harri thinks it’s... (full context)
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Harri explains that the steps outside the cafeteria “belong to the Dell Farm Crew”—it is the... (full context)
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
One day, the Dell Farm Crew take Harri’s bag and threaten to throw it on the roof. X-Fire asks where Harri is from,... (full context)
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
One of the never-normal women rides a “chair car” because she’s “too fat to walk.” Harri once saw little kids climb on top of it for a ride. Harri loves running... (full context)
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
...from school for kicking a teacher. Jordan is mixed-race, and his mother is obruni, which Harri finds crazy. Jordan’s mom wants to find another school for her son, but Jordan wants... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
In art class, Poppy sits next to Harri and paints her fingernails with paints. She does it very slowly, and it makes Harri... (full context)
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
There is a fence with spikes surrounding Harri’s school and a sign that says, “No climbing, serious risk of injury.” Harri and Dean’s... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Dean double-checks with Harri that the person by the bins retrieved a knife, and Harri confirms, demonstrating how big... (full context)
April
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Harri’s family does laundry in the laundromat at the bottom of Luxembourg House. Sometimes Harri and... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Harri sees people die on the news every day, usually children. If a child dies, Mamma... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
...crime to set the fire alarm off if there isn’t a real fire, X-Fire asks Harri to do just that. Harri reasons that if he joins the Dell Farm Crew, Vilis... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Harri waits for a group of people to pass and then hits the fire alarm while... (full context)
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Harri describes Mr. Frimpong, the loudest singer in church. Mr. Frimpong once fainted during church, and... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Harri and Dean go to the pub to interview suspects. The air smells of alcohol, and... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
...the killer was. He adds: “These f—king kids, they need drowning at birth.” Speaking to Harri, Dean laments that the suspects are never going to give up any useful information. He... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
...perspective of the pigeon, who says that violence has always come “too easy” to humankind. Harri describes a time when Kyle Barnes stabbed Manik with a compass in order to make... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
The Dell Farm Crew waits for Harri and Dean outside the cafeteria and block their way, calling them “pussy boys.” Clipz mentions... (full context)
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Back in Ghana, Harri helped make the roof for Papa’s shop and made sure that it was “proper strong.”... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Later, while heading to the bathroom, Harri sees Miquita give Lydia a Nisa bag before she leaves. They look inside it as... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
When Lydia is done, she bumps into Harri and curses him for following her. Harri asks what was in the bag, and she... (full context)
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Harri explains that the best running shoes are Nike, followed by Adidas, Reebok, Puma, and K-Swiss.... (full context)
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
...into the room during math class. Poppy is so scared that she almost cries, but Harri reassures her that the wasp is just visiting, then transports the it to the window... (full context)
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Harri decides that he wants to kiss Poppy. He also thinks the pound coin looks stupid.... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
A tree has been blown over by the wind, and Harri sees a bird’s nest in it. He is sad thinking about how the birds were... (full context)
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
In citizenship class, Harri and Connor draw scars on their skin with pens. Harri concludes that scars look better... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Harri and Dean decide to use sellotape to gather fingerprints. They check the surfaces by the... (full context)
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
The first time Harri went on the tube (underground public transit), he found it crazy. He shouted, “We are... (full context)
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
...meantime, she moves around, living just like anyone else wherever she goes. Auntie Sonia gives Harri a “proper football made from skin,” and Lydia a Tinchy Stryder CD. Harri observes that... (full context)
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Back in Ghana, Harri’s favorite barber was called Kwadwo. The barber Harri sees in London is called Mario and... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
There is a small playground near Harri’s tower block, with a car, a motorbike, and two ladybirds on springs. However, Harri doesn’t... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Harri looks for the murder weapon but only finds drug needles. Jordan likes to boast about... (full context)
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
...humans use to keep pigeons away, such as metal spikes, flypaper, and rifles. In school, Harri learns about volcanoes, and points out that at the center of Earth is hell. The... (full context)
May
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
There is a carnival in Harri’s neighborhood, and everyone dances, “even the white people and the old people.” There are men... (full context)
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
...in Ghana, Agnes has learned how to say the names of everyone in the family. Harri can’t wait until she can talk properly, so he can tell her a story about... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Harri thinks that if he joined the Dell Farm Crew, he could teach them about God,... (full context)
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Harri tries the “dirty finger trick” on Manik, and Manik responds by insulting the marker drawings... (full context)
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Harri observes that there are security cameras everywhere in London. He, X-Fire, Dizzy, and Killa are... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Harri turns around and sees Mr. Frimpong lying on the floor with his legs bent at... (full context)
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Daniel Bevan uses an inhaler, and Harri thinks he might die soon. Daniel promises to leave Harri his books if he dies... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
...own superhero called Snake Man, who can transform into a snake and poison his enemies. Harri is impressed and compliments him. People say that Altaf is gay because he is quiet... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
At school, X-Fire makes the gun sign at Harri, and Dizzy says that the Dell Farm Crew “ain’t gonna forget” that Harri left them... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
...Killa pulls a screwdriver from his pants, demanding that Terry get Asbo away from him. Harri feels sure that Asbo has identified that Killa is a sinner, though he can’t tell... (full context)
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Harri explains that people who don’t believe in God are “lost” and “empty inside.” Mr. Frimpong... (full context)
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Jordan’s mom has a tattoo, which Harri thinks means she’s a tutufo. He thinks only men should have tattoos. While playing football,... (full context)
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Harri says that a war has started, but that he hasn’t seen it. He lists the... (full context)
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A boy at school calls Poppy “four-eyes,” and Harri defends her. Harri shows Poppy his binoculars but doesn’t tell her what they’re for, as... (full context)
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...a break and drink apple juice, pretending it’s champagne. Once Lydia’s hair is almost done, Harri concludes that it looks bo-styles. Suddenly Miquita turns angry and asks Lydia if she’s “with... (full context)
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Harri takes Miquita and Chanelle’s fingerprints from their glasses of juice. He doesn’t take Lydia’s because... (full context)
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Poppy loves Harri’s Diadoras. The two of them hold hands sometimes, but the rest of the time just... (full context)
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Harri describes the invisible lines marking the different gang territories in his area. It is important... (full context)
June
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Harri and Dean are on a “stake-out” at the bottom of the stairs in Harri’s tower.... (full context)
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Dean suggests that Terry Takeaway could be a suspect, but Harri objects, stating that Terry is his friend. At that moment, Terry sees Harri and shouts... (full context)
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...about the Samsung Galaxy and has asked Auntie Sonia for one as a birthday present. Harri loves overhearing people talk on their mobile phones; he says that he finds it “relaxing.”... (full context)
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Connor Green boasts that he’s seen Poppy’s boobs, but Harri insists that he’s lying and jealous because he wants to be Poppy’s boyfriend. Poppy writes... (full context)
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Harri accidentally gets in the lift with Fag Ash Lil and vows never to go in... (full context)
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Harri would give his life up if it means Agnes doesn’t die. Grandma Ama assures him... (full context)
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Harri thinks that “orgasm” means a mouse’s sneeze. He describes all the toughest boys in Year... (full context)
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Harri becomes convinced that one of the two girls is going to die, but everyone keeps... (full context)
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Harri and Lydia sneak into the Youth Club to play with the pool tables, checking to... (full context)
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Killa threatens to break Harri’s binoculars if he doesn’t stop staring at him through them. As Harri walks away, Killa... (full context)
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...Send him home!”. Nish’s wife falls on the floor and her shoe comes off, so Harri picks it up for her. Nish and his wife are locked in the van and... (full context)
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...“illegal.” Everyone agrees that Nish’s meat is better than what you get at the butcher. Harri hopes that Pakistan is nice and thinks about all the things he would miss if... (full context)
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Harri tries to collect Jordan’s spit, but Jordan won’t let him. Jordan’s favorite gun is a... (full context)
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Mamma is waiting on the other side of the tunnel. She calls Harri a “stupid boy” and tells Jordan to stay away from him. She calls Jordan “a... (full context)
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Harri recalls what it was like in Ghana when there was a blackout. He would go... (full context)
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Harri walks past the church with Dean and Connor when X-Fire and Dizzy stop them. Harri... (full context)
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Harri runs into Mr. Tomlin’s class, where he knows he’s safe. Later, Dean and Harri review... (full context)
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...is so happy she cries again. After getting it, Lydia starts taking pictures of everything. Harri gets a remote-control car even though it’s not his birthday. Julius is fixing his baseball... (full context)
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Harri sees a Year 10 girl in a headscarf praying and finds it “relaxing” to watch... (full context)
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...for her from wood. Lydia starts crying, and Mamma observes that “she’s missing her Papa.” Harri tries to cheer her up, and Lydia smiles a small smile, then laughs. (full context)
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Harri asks Lydia if she’s ready for her surprise. At first, she is suspicious that it... (full context)
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Harri loves surprises, like the cement or when people have hidden talents. While Harri and Dean... (full context)
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Harri and Dean go back to Harri’s room and apply the sellotape the stains. Harri suggests... (full context)
July
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Harri describes what he has learned about the different parts of the body and their functions... (full context)
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Miquita puts on cherry lipstick, preparing to teach Harri how to kiss. Harri reasons that if he is a good kisser, then Poppy will... (full context)
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Harri calls Miquita a “stupid bitch” and Lydia tells her to leave him alone. When Miquita... (full context)
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...is “mortal after all.” It wonders, “If I’m not here who looks after the boy?” Harri then describes chasing the magpies away and asking if the pigeon is alright. The pigeon... (full context)
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Regretful about what happened with Miquita, Harri gives Poppy a jelly ring. The couple walks past Clipz, who asks if Harri has... (full context)
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...regrets because otherwise she would have never made it to England. She did it for Harri and Lydia, and as long as she pays off her debt, everything will be fine.... (full context)
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Someone has carved the word “DEAD” into the door of Harri’s flat. Harri tells Mamma it was probably a junkie but secretly thinks it was Jordan... (full context)
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Harri is extremely excited for the summer holiday. He is going to go to the zoo,... (full context)
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X-Fire and Dizzy approach Dean and Harri and ask what they are doing. Killa and Miquita are there too. Harri drops Lydia’s... (full context)
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Dizzy and X-Fire corner Harri and Dean. X-Fire reaches into his pants, and Harri knows he is retrieving his “war... (full context)
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The pigeon says that it wanted to do more to save Harri, but it was “not my place.” The pigeon quotes “the Boss,” who says that humans... (full context)
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...driving in was his brother’s BMW, because they know his brother can’t afford one. However, Harri is in shock. Jermaine Bent is Killa’s real name. (full context)
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In PE, Harri plays a game called rounders, which he hates. Inspired by Altaf’s suggestion, Harri sneaks away... (full context)
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Someone has set the playground by Harri’s tower block on fire. As the assembled adults grumble about the kids who must have... (full context)
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On the last day of school, Lydia, Dean, and Harri walk to school together to stay safe. It’s hot, and everyone is happy. All the... (full context)
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Poppy and Harri hold hands at the school gate. Harri feels frightened by how beautiful she is. Poppy... (full context)
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Harri and Dean have been preparing to tell the police that Killa is the murderer. They... (full context)
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When Harri is almost home, he describes an unnamed boy coming “out of nowhere.” The boy had... (full context)