The Sellout


Paul Beatty

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The Sellout: Chapter 21 Summary & Analysis

Traditionally, Hood Day is when local gangs go out looking for trouble, the only time of year when they leave their own neighborhoods. However, now most members of one of the gangs have been displaced to a much further away area of Los Angeles, meaning that when they confront each other they are too tired from travel to have a real fight. The narrator explains that although the word “hood” is now used to refer to any neighborhood, in the past, it only meant one place in LA: Dickens. During the confrontation between the gangs, Marpessa tells MC Panache that she is sleeping with the narrator. Panache replies that if he could get some of the narrator’s pineapples he’d have sex with him as well.
Again, a joke emerges through thwarted expectations, as we expect MC Panache to react furiously toward the narrator. Throughout the novel, moments like these recur, when what we have been led to believe will be a climactic moment fails to materialize. With little fanfare, the final obstacle to the narrator and Marpessa being together has been removed. Panache’s comment about the narrator’s pineapples reemphasizes the narrator’s increasingly high standing in the community.
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