There There

There There

by

Tommy Orange

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There There: Part IV: Calvin Johnson (3) Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Calvin, Charles, Carlos, and Octavio eat breakfast at the Denny’s next to the coliseum. They are all quiet, worried about getting away with their scheme. Calvin is angry at Charles for involving him in “this shit plan.” Anxious, Calvin attempts to talk strategy with the other guys, suggesting they steal the money “sooner [rather] than later.” Calvin tells the others that the cash prizes are being kept in a safe. Octavio reminds them that the people in charge of the safe are a “big dude” and a “kinda pretty” older woman of about forty. Charles agrees with Calvin’s idea to get the robbery over with quickly rather than wait around—he suggests they steal the safe right away and figure out how to open it later, once they’re off the premises. As the group eats their breakfast in silence, it becomes clear how nervous and on edge they all are.
Calvin has chosen to betray his coworkers and indeed his people more largely in order to save his own skin. In the moments leading up to the fateful robbery, Calvin is forced to reckon with the choice he’s made—but despite his anxiety, he shows no signs of changing his mind or stopping this plan in its tracks.
Themes
Cultural Identity vs. Personal Identity Theme Icon
Interconnectedness, Coincidence, and Chance Theme Icon
Generational Trauma Theme Icon