Response to “Monkey Man” & “Angela’s Eyes”
From both “Monkey Man” and “Angela’s Eyes”, Walter Dean Myers portrays the 145th Street neighborhood as a character, with strengths, weaknesses, and values. By telling these stories about 145th Street itself, he manages to describe the neighborhood with humanlike values and characteristics throughout 145th Street. In the stories, the events that occur give an overall sense of the values that dominate generally in the neighborhood. That being said, “Monkey Man” gives an overall positive example of the neighborhood’s values, while “Angela’s Eyes” gives a more negative depiction. In “Monkey Man”, the main character, Monkey Man, is wanted by the local gang for interfering in a member’s cutting of an innocent person. That person, Peaches, rallies the neighborhood to try and find a way to save Monkey Man. Though she does not seem to succeed, he comes up with a plan on his own, ultimately relying on the moral values of the neighborhood to outweigh the bad intentions of the gang. He gives the reasoning “I just thought that some people were going to show wrong, and some others were going to show right. No matter what happened to me, everybody was going to know the difference” (Myers 85). Through the events of this short story, we are seen the familial bond of 145th Street, the care they have for one another, and the courage to do what is right when it is necessary to do so. “Angela’s Eyes” on the other hand, depicts a child named Angela who lives with her mother, and whos father recently died in a work related accident. Angela begins to have dreams, the first of which she sees her father and Poli. Angela divulges the details of her dream, and Poli dies soon after. This worries the neighborhood enough on its own, but Angela then has another dream in which she sees Eddie Robinson, who also dies soon after. As a result, the neighborhood is terrified of Angela and her apparent ability to see future deaths. Angela is treated poorly and she does not like to go out in public anymore. Mr. Rodriguez says about the neighborhood, “Today they talk about Angela and tomorrow they’ll be talking about me, hflf the people in this neighborhood don’t have jobs, all they have for entertainment is what they can make up” (Myers 47). This depicts the neighborhood as shallow and ignorant, believing everything they hear and accelerating the spread of rumors that put people down. Through the actions of the neighborhood, and the events of “Angela’s Eyes”, we see the mob mentality that led to the poor treatment of a young girl for nothing that she could have affected. From “Monkey Man” and “Angela’s Eyes” by Walter Dean Myers, I learned how to show and describe a location like a character. By telling these various stories about the neighborhood, we learn what the values or morals of the neighborhood are like. It is almost as if the book 145th Street itself is a biography of a character, that character being 145th Street. The stories of events on the street are like events of a person’s life, shaping the depiction of the character, 145th Street. Walter Dean Myers manages to do this in both “Monkey Man” and “Angela’s Eyes”.