There Are No Children Here

by

Alex Kotlowitz

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A tough, violent student at Pharoah’s school, Rickey takes a liking to Pharoah and defends him against other students. Pharoah and Lafeyette both befriend Rickey, but they also try to distance themselves from Rickey’s illegal, often violent activities, which lead to his arrest on many occasions. Rickey harbors a deep anger against the world and uses violence as an outlet for his feelings of frustration and injustice, especially after his cousin Bird Leg’s death. At the same time, he mourns the innocence of his childhood, and wishes he could be young again to make different choices in life.

Rickey Quotes in There Are No Children Here

The There Are No Children Here quotes below are all either spoken by Rickey or refer to Rickey. 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.
Preface Quotes

They have joined gangs, sold drugs, and, in some cases, inflicted pain on others. But they have also played baseball and gone on dates and shot marbles and kept diaries. For, despite all they have seen and done, they are—and we must constantly remind ourselves of this—still children.

Page Number: xi
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

Often, when Rickey became embroiled in a fight, he began to relive Bird Leg’s last minutes, and as he did so, his anger turned to rage. In class, he once choked another child so long and hard that, in the words of Pharoah, “he put him to sleep.” These flashbacks, which were nor unlike those of a traumatized war veteran, haunted Rickey for well over a year after Bird Leg’s death.

Related Characters: Pharoah Rivers (speaker), Alex Kotlowitz (speaker), Rickey, Calvin “Bird Leg” Robinson
Page Number: 73
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 16 Quotes

Pharoah became more alert and prudent. He had never stolen anything. Nor had he ever gotten into any trouble other than talking in class. He wanted it to stay that way. The best way was to hang out more by himself. Pharoah decided he no longer had any friends. Like his brother, he just had associates.

“You don’t have no friends in the projects,” he said. “They’ll turn you down for anything.”

Related Characters: Pharoah Rivers (speaker), Alex Kotlowitz (speaker), Lafeyette Rivers, Rickey
Page Number: 154
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 18 Quotes

They didn’t listen. They didn’t understand. So if they thought he was a bad guy, if they wanted him to be a bad guy, then he’d be a bad guy. If they wanted to put him away for something he didn’t do, then he’d give them something to put him away with. It was a tangled and tragic life that had got him into trouble. It was his own confused method of seeking justice.

Related Characters: Terence Rivers (speaker), Alex Kotlowitz (speaker), Rickey
Page Number: 154
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire There Are No Children Here LitChart as a printable PDF.
There Are No Children Here PDF

Rickey Character Timeline in There Are No Children Here

The timeline below shows where the character Rickey appears in There Are No Children Here. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 8
Family, Love, and Care Theme Icon
Violence and Growing Up Theme Icon
Pharoah has made an unusual friend at school. Ever since Rickey asked Pharoah to ask his cousin Dede out for him, the two of them have... (full context)
Violence and Growing Up Theme Icon
Justice and the Law Theme Icon
Most importantly, Rickey was deeply affected by his cousin Bird Leg’s death, since he considered him a big... (full context)
Family, Love, and Care Theme Icon
Violence and Growing Up Theme Icon
Rickey can also be kind and protective, helping younger children cross the street and behaving politely... (full context)
Family, Love, and Care Theme Icon
Violence and Growing Up Theme Icon
Persistence, Luck, and Success Theme Icon
Aware of Rickey’s reputation, Lafeyette worries about Pharoah’s new friend. At the same time, he admires Pharoah’s academic... (full context)
Chapter 12
Persistence, Luck, and Success Theme Icon
...that he will not stutter. On the day of the event, he wants his friend Rickey to be there, but Rickey has been sent to the principal’s office out of fear... (full context)
Chapter 13
Violence and Growing Up Theme Icon
...Horner residents become more comfortable. Pharoah dances freely to the music, making LaJoe laugh, while Rickey, James, and Lafeyette stay to the side. Lafeyette has come to accept Rickey, and Pharoah... (full context)
Chapter 16
Violence and Growing Up Theme Icon
Between summer and fall, Lafeyette and Rickey, who are closer in age than Rickey in Pharoah, have become “associates.” Rickey introduces Lafeyette... (full context)
Violence and Growing Up Theme Icon
Justice and the Law Theme Icon
One Saturday, Pharoah, Lafeyette, Rickey, and other friends go window shopping. When they enter a video-cassette store, Rickey suggests to... (full context)
Justice and the Law Theme Icon
While Rickey is acting overconfident, Lafeyette is apologetic and asks Vera if he can let them go,... (full context)
Family, Love, and Care Theme Icon
Violence and Growing Up Theme Icon
...for him when LaJoe dies, despite Lafeyette’s protestations to the contrary. His brother’s incident with Rickey also leads him to distance himself from Rickey, as he does not want to get... (full context)
Chapter 19
Violence and Growing Up Theme Icon
...begins, alternating dance routines, singers, and humorous skits, the room becomes more and more crowded. Rickey buys Pharoah a hot dog, and the crowd later follows along as a rapper calls... (full context)
Chapter 23
Violence and Growing Up Theme Icon
Rickey and Lafeyette have begun to spend more time together, and Rickey has included him in... (full context)
Family, Love, and Care Theme Icon
Violence and Growing Up Theme Icon
...son does not get anyone pregnant but, more importantly, is worried about his relationship with Rickey, especially since she has seen the young boy break a car window and steal the... (full context)
Violence and Growing Up Theme Icon
At the same time, even though Rickey is turning into a tough, reckless and seemingly uncontrollable youngster, using a gun to shoot... (full context)
Violence and Growing Up Theme Icon
While Lafeyette enjoys Rickey’s company, he does not appreciate his group of friends and hopes that he can be... (full context)
Chapter 26
Family, Love, and Care Theme Icon
Violence and Growing Up Theme Icon
While Lafeyette and Rickey soon leave the party, which disappoints LaJoe, Pharoah spends the party smiling and waiting for... (full context)
Chapter 30
Violence and Growing Up Theme Icon
When Pharoah and Lafeyette go to buy some fries near their house, they run into Rickey, who has just spent a few weeks in jail for theft, and invite him along.... (full context)
Epilogue
Violence and Growing Up Theme Icon
Justice and the Law Theme Icon
...the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, responsible for her son’s death. In the meantime, Rickey has since begun selling drugs for a local gang. He has been arrested for breaking... (full context)