Pigeon English

by

Stephen Kelman

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The Dead Boy Character Analysis

The dead boy, who is never named, was a boy a few years older than Harri who was stabbed to death outside Chicken Joe’s. The reader learns fairly little about the dead boy other than that he loved Chelsea Football Club and possibly had a white girlfriend, who appears in the picture that Dean and Harri find of him. The motivations behind the dead boy’s murder emerge over the course of the novel. At first, Harri thinks the dead boy was stabbed simply so someone could steal his Chicken Joe’s, but it eventually becomes clear that Killa stabbed him because he was “fronting” and disrespecting the Dell Farm Crew.

The Dead Boy Quotes in Pigeon English

The Pigeon English quotes below are all either spoken by The Dead Boy or refer to The Dead Boy. 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

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:
June Quotes

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:
Get the entire Pigeon English LitChart as a printable PDF.
Pigeon English PDF

The Dead Boy Character Timeline in Pigeon English

The timeline below shows where the character The Dead Boy 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 is tempted, but there is police tape around the blood saying, “DO NOT CROSS.” The dead boy ’s mother is nearby, “guarding the blood.” A pigeon walks past looking for food. Its... (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 the ground. Harri then gives Jordan a... (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
...to steal from her. At Harri’s church in London, there is a “special prayer” for the dead boy . Pastor Taylor tells the children that if they know anyone with a knife, they... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
...Chelsea Football (soccer) Club shirt from the clothes stall, Harri sees Jordan steal a phone. The dead boy had the official Chelsea shirt, not a knockoff like Harri’s one. Harri loves his shirt... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
...a woman, which Harri finds “very crazy.” The female cop asks if anyone knows where the dead boy was on the day of his death or if anyone was “after him.” The kids... (full context)
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
...pigeon pities people, whose “lives are so short and nothing’s even fair.” It didn’t know the dead boy , but it understands grief. (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Miquita isn’t going to the dead boy’s funeral. She said it was his fault he was killed because “he shouldn’t have been... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Dean thinks that CSI should take over the investigation of the dead boy’s murder. He explains that CSI are the best detectives in America, and that they are... (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... (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
...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 he would choose an airplane... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
...with green for the time Agnes found a cricket in the grass, and red for the dead boy’s blood. However, he can’t mix the right shade of red and gets frustrated to the... (full context)
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
...the murder weapon, and Harri boasts that they are “proper detectives now.” Harri explains that the dead boy was once nice to him, and that he wanted them to become friends, but then... (full context)
April
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
...the hardest,” and Harri concludes that adults love sad news. The news today says that the dead boy still hasn’t been found. Harri asks Mamma what she thinks the killer looks like and... (full context)
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
...and Pastor Taylor had to wake him up. At church today, the congregation prays for the dead boy’s mother and asks God to help the police catch the killer. Harri’s science teacher, Mr.... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
...There is a special assembly at school in which a policeman comes and talk about the dead boy . Harri doesn’t trust the policeman because he is “too fat,” which Harri thinks means... (full context)
May
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
...means. Harri suggests that they go to a different church, such as the one where the dead boy’s funeral took place. Mamma tells him that this is “the wrong kind of church.” Mr.... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
...identified that Killa is a sinner, though he can’t tell if this means Killa murdered the dead boy or if Asbo is just picking up on all the other things that he’s done... (full context)
June
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
...the stairs even though they smell like urine. On the news, a man talks about the dead boy and how much he misses him. Harri and Lydia argue, and after, Harri wonders what... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
...with dark stains and has no money inside. However, it does contain a photograph of the dead boy wearing his Chelsea shirt next to a white girl. They are both smiling, and Harri... (full context)
July
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
...ride around the city with Dean. Harri secretly borrows Lydia’s phone to try to catch the dead boy’s spirit, which Harri thinks will still be lingering around the places that the boy loved.... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
...Dean’s running shoes as well. Dizzy reaches into Harri’s pocket and finds the wallet with the dead boy’s picture in it. Realizing there is no money inside, Dizzy throws the wallet on the... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
...and Dean the video, which shows Killa looking sad and X-Fire burning the picture of the dead boy . Lydia emails the video to Abena to keep it safe. (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Connor Green boasts that he knows who killed the dead boy . He claims that he was driving past when he saw the boy being stabbed.... (full context)