There Are No Children Here

by

Alex Kotlowitz

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LaJoe’s husband, to whom she is still married after seventeen years, only visits his family sporadically. Both LaJoe and her children, especially Lafeyette and Pharoah, feel resentful toward Paul for choosing drugs over his family. Paul does not actively participate in family life and has stolen and sold some of the family’s belongings to buy drugs. Paul understands his family’s grievances and often adopts an attitude of self-pity and despondency, as he blames himself for his family’s situation but does not believe himself capable of overcoming his addiction to drugs and alcohol. Nevertheless, he does occasionally defend his children and, through his presence, constitutes a rare example of fatherhood in the neighborhood, as many children at Horner are forced to grow up without a father.

Paul Rivers Quotes in There Are No Children Here

The There Are No Children Here quotes below are all either spoken by Paul Rivers or refer to Paul Rivers. 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:
Family, Love, and Care Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of There Are No Children Here published in 1991.
Chapter 10 Quotes

“The things I should of been talking to Paul about I was talking to Lafie,” LaJoe said. “I put him in a bad place. But I didn’t have anyone to talk to. Lafie,” she said, regretfully, “became a twelve-year-old man that day.”

Related Characters: LaJoe Rivers (speaker), Lafeyette Rivers, Paul Rivers
Page Number: 100-101
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire There Are No Children Here LitChart as a printable PDF.
There Are No Children Here PDF

Paul Rivers Character Timeline in There Are No Children Here

The timeline below shows where the character Paul Rivers appears in There Are No Children Here. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Family, Love, and Care Theme Icon
...now revolves around her younger children. Despite being married for seventeen years, LaJoe and her husband, Paul Rivers, have long been estranged, and LaJoe now depends on her son Lafeyette to... (full context)
Chapter 9
Family, Love, and Care Theme Icon
Violence and Growing Up Theme Icon
Persistence, Luck, and Success Theme Icon
...to drugs, might not be able to take care of her own children. When LaJoe’s husband, Paul, stays the night, the small apartment totals thirteen people. While this makes Pharoah feels... (full context)
Family, Love, and Care Theme Icon
...severe disappointment in her family has been Terence. LaJoe’s family responsibilities began early. She met Paul Rivers when she was barely fourteen and Paul seventeen. They started a family immediately, as... (full context)
Family, Love, and Care Theme Icon
Unable to say no to anyone, LaJoe did not want to kick Paul out, and over the years, she had Terence, Lafeyette, Pharoah, and the triplets with him.... (full context)
Family, Love, and Care Theme Icon
...a few days after being caught by the police, but he would then escape again. Paul decided to intervene. In a bold move, he confronted Charles directly, but Charles argued that... (full context)
Chapter 10
Family, Love, and Care Theme Icon
Justice and the Law Theme Icon
...is called to the local welfare office because, in light of the allegation that her husband sometimes sleeps at home, her eligibility needs to be re-examined. Nervous and subdued, she is... (full context)
Family, Love, and Care Theme Icon
Justice and the Law Theme Icon
The inquisitors show LaJoe evidence, such as joint tax incomes and her husband’s unemployment benefits, where Paul has claimed LaJoe’s apartment as his residence. Even though LaJoe does... (full context)
Family, Love, and Care Theme Icon
Violence and Growing Up Theme Icon
...at night when he sees her worrying. He asks her why he doesn’t simply kick Paul and LaShawn out, since they bring her so much trouble, but LaJoe says she could... (full context)
Family, Love, and Care Theme Icon
Persistence, Luck, and Success Theme Icon
Justice and the Law Theme Icon
Feeling guilty about this situation, Paul himself tries to talk to a caseworker before the appeal, explaining his problems with drugs... (full context)
Chapter 13
Family, Love, and Care Theme Icon
Persistence, Luck, and Success Theme Icon
Justice and the Law Theme Icon
...more optimistic about Terence’s case. She also reapplies for welfare benefits and, in light of Paul’s recent unemployment, sees her welfare restored. In addition, Craig Davis serves as a positive influence... (full context)
Chapter 17
Family, Love, and Care Theme Icon
...than by their father’s depression. Unable to get rid of his alcohol and drug habits, Paul feels pessimistic about getting his job back and even steals the television set Lelia Mae... (full context)
Family, Love, and Care Theme Icon
...for failing to deliver on his promises and for choosing drugs instead of his family. Paul understands these feelings, since he knows he has harmed his family’s life and his own... (full context)
Chapter 24
Family, Love, and Care Theme Icon
Violence and Growing Up Theme Icon
Justice and the Law Theme Icon
...and, in her anger, snaps at Lafeyette. Then, she begins to cry, angry at her husband, Paul, for ruining her life and expressing her desire to get out of the ghetto.... (full context)
Chapter 29
Family, Love, and Care Theme Icon
...his father must have sold his puppy for drug money and begins to accuse him. Paul gets angry at him but Lafeyette calls him a “dope fiend” and punches him in... (full context)
Family, Love, and Care Theme Icon
LaJoe, who is just as angry as her son, succeeds in restraining Paul for a second and Lafeyette runs out of the apartment before returning with a metal... (full context)