It has been a week since Craig Davis’s funeral, and Lafeyette is irritable, often gets angry at his siblings, and cleans the apartment frantically to channel his excess energy. He orders the younger ones about, telling them to help him clean the apartment, and they soon learn to stay away from Lafeyette’s unpredictable, occasionally violent temper, which makes it seem as though Lafeyette has no control over his moods and emotions.
Lafeyette’s lack of control over his moods mirrors his lack of control over the reality around him. Despite the boy’s apparent cynicism and apathy, his violent temper reveals that he is not able to accept death passively, but that the injustice of it still tortures him, making him feel helpless and outraged.
Although he worries about Lafeyette, Pharoah handles Craig’s death by claiming that he is too young to understand it, thus avoiding the pain it might cause him. LaJoe, however, finds herself at a loss to try to get Lafeyette to talk about his grief. Lafeyette begins to repeat that he is tired, which worries LaJoe because Terence used to say something similar to express his general anger or dissatisfaction with his life. One day, when a shooting erupts outside their window, LaJoe and the younger children go to hide in the hallway but Lafeyette remains impassive, watching television in his sister’s room, refusing to shield himself from the threat of death.
As usual, Pharoah prefers ignoring issues of death and injustice instead of having to process them thoroughly—and, potentially, falling prey to the same unhappiness that affects his brother. LaJoe’s fears that Lafeyette might become like Terence underscore that some violent or illegal behavior in the neighborhood is not necessarily the result of gang affiliation, but of suppressed frustration and outrage. Lafeyette, though, seems more inclined to let himself die than to inflict harm on others.