There Are No Children Here

by

Alex Kotlowitz

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Terence Rivers Character Analysis

LaJoe’s third son, Terence, is also her greatest disappointment. Despite sharing an extraordinarily close relationship with his mother, Terence leaves the house at the age of ten and begins selling drugs for a local drug dealer, Charles, who takes him under his wing. As a teenager, he runs into many problems with the law, which ultimately result in an eight-year sentence for burglary. However, throughout these ordeals, Terence remains loyal to his family. He often expresses his love to his mother and younger brothers (Pharoah and Lafeyette), as well as his desire to help the family out financially.

Terence Rivers Quotes in There Are No Children Here

The There Are No Children Here quotes below are all either spoken by Terence Rivers or refer to Terence 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 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:
Chapter 24 Quotes

She had seen Terence change in the year she had known him. He had hardened. The weight lifting made him look older and more menacing. He seemed more defiant. “When I first saw him he was a little kid. He was soft-looking and soft-spoken,” she said. She didn’t think a long sting in jail would do him any good.

Related Characters: Alex Kotlowitz (speaker), Audrey Natcone (speaker), Terence Rivers
Page Number: 232
Explanation and Analysis:
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Terence Rivers Character Timeline in There Are No Children Here

The timeline below shows where the character Terence 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
Violence and Growing Up Theme Icon
Persistence, Luck, and Success Theme Icon
...to support her drug addiction), Weasel (who was incarcerated for participating in a burglary), and Terence (who began selling drugs at an early age) have all dropped out of school, been... (full context)
Chapter 9
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...body is affected physically by the violence and general insecurity in her life. Most recently, Terence has been arrested for his alleged participation in an armed robbery, and the Department of... (full context)
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LaJoe’s most severe disappointment in her family has been Terence. LaJoe’s family responsibilities began early. She met Paul Rivers when she was barely fourteen and... (full context)
Family, Love, and Care Theme Icon
...anyone, LaJoe did not want to kick Paul out, and over the years, she had Terence, Lafeyette, Pharoah, and the triplets with him. LaJoe used to work off and on as... (full context)
Family, Love, and Care Theme Icon
...later, what had happened to her son, she was still unable to bring him back. Terence would stay home for a few days after being caught by the police, but he... (full context)
Family, Love, and Care Theme Icon
Violence and Growing Up Theme Icon
Persistence, Luck, and Success Theme Icon
...give up on their children, considering that those who leave are not their children anymore. Terence, though, loves and misses his family. Lafeyette adores his brother and wants him to come... (full context)
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After an incident with his mother, Terence finally returns home. Seeing LaJoe in the street, he asks his mother for a few... (full context)
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Violence and Growing Up Theme Icon
Terence also briefly joins the Disciples, taking part in fights and witnessing one of his friends... (full context)
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Violence and Growing Up Theme Icon
...common pattern, and the police soon organize to stop the young men. Still a juvenile, Terence is arrested during one of these robberies. Two weeks later, he is accused of participating... (full context)
Chapter 11
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Justice and the Law Theme Icon
When LaJoe, Lafeyette, Pharoah and the triplets go to the county jail to visit Terence, they have to talk to him through bullet-proof glass but are all extremely excited to... (full context)
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Justice and the Law Theme Icon
As the initial joy at seeing everyone fades, Terence becomes tense and aggressive, drumming his fist against the counter and repeating that he wants... (full context)
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Persistence, Luck, and Success Theme Icon
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When Lafeyette softly says hello to his brother, Terence gives him a long lecture telling him to stay in school and stay away from... (full context)
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Justice and the Law Theme Icon
A few weeks later, Lafeyette himself asks LaJoe when Terence will get out of prison, LaJoe admits that she doesn’t know and asks Lafeyette to... (full context)
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Violence and Growing Up Theme Icon
Justice and the Law Theme Icon
...in particular, the possibility that his brother might be suffering from injustice. Two years ago, Terence had been arrested for allegedly shooting a young girl in the stomach, but was released... (full context)
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Violence and Growing Up Theme Icon
Justice and the Law Theme Icon
Lafeyette and Pharoah are upset by Terence’s arrest, as it represents yet another loss in their long experience with losing friends and... (full context)
Chapter 13
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In the meantime, public defender Audrey Natcone feels sorry for her client Terence, who looks young and nervous and will probably be deeply affected by spending time in... (full context)
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Justice and the Law Theme Icon
In this case, Audrey is particularly impressed by Terence’s relationship with his family. Unlike most of her clients, LaJoe is always present on Terence’s... (full context)
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Persistence, Luck, and Success Theme Icon
Justice and the Law Theme Icon
At Horner, things begin to seem more hopeful. LaJoe begins to feel more optimistic about Terence’s case. She also reapplies for welfare benefits and, in light of Paul’s recent unemployment, sees... (full context)
Chapter 16
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Violence and Growing Up Theme Icon
...incident, she becomes worried about Lafeyette since she remembers how little time it took for Terence to fall prey to other people’s bad influences. LaJoe punishes Lafeyette, making him stay home... (full context)
Chapter 18
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Days later, the family learns that Terence might be sentenced to ten years in prison. While both Lafeyette and Pharoah are shocked... (full context)
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Terence will spend ten years in prison if he agrees to plead guilty. Even though Terence... (full context)
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While this new arrest has upset Audrey Natcone, since she hoped that Terence would stay out of trouble unlike most of her clients. However, she still wants to... (full context)
Chapter 22
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...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.... (full context)
Chapter 23
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...is worried that Lafeyette might fall in with the wrong crowd and end up like Terence. (full context)
Chapter 24
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...young men’s lives. At the courthouse, Audrey Natcone walks up to the state’s attorney handling Terence’s case. She succeeds in convincing the attorney to lower Terence’s sentence to eight years. Even... (full context)
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This time, Terence has asked LaJoe not to come to court, since he feels that he has let... (full context)
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Before the trial, Audrey meets with Terence and tries to convince him to accept an eight-year sentence, arguing that it is even... (full context)
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On April 4, Terence is sentenced, on the very same day that the new mayor is elected. LaJoe is... (full context)
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Three days before Terence is sent to prison, his family goes to visit him at the jail to say... (full context)
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...than he already is, and hopes that neither Pharoah nor Lafeyette will end up like Terence. Terence sends a letter from prison three days later, sending his love and telling LaJoe... (full context)
Chapter 28
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When LaJoe enters the building, she remembers the number of times she came with Terence, but is committed to always coming with her children and not leaving them alone like... (full context)
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A few days later, the family receives a letter from Terence. While Lafeyette and Pharoah still care about their brother, they do not worry about him... (full context)
Chapter 30
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...had hoped so hard that he might make a wish for his family, so that Terence could get out of jail and they could find a house outside the project that... (full context)
Epilogue
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Persistence, Luck, and Success Theme Icon
...they still struggle to find a permanent job, they rarely return to Horner. As for Terence, after earning his high school equivalency in prison, he should be released in 1991. Finally,... (full context)