In Somewhere in the Darkness, why does Crab consider killing to be worse as stealing?

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belarafon's profile pic

belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Somewhere in the Darkness is a 1992 young adult novel by Walter Dean Myers, dealing with issues of family, trust, and personal honor in the African-American community.

Crab is the father of protagonist Jimmy. He was imprisoned for killing a man and insists that he is innocent. In trying to reconnect with his son and regain his personal dignity, he half-kidnaps Jimmy and takes him to Chicago, financing his trip through theft of cars and money along the way. During the trip, Jimmy questions Crab's honesty:

"...steal[ing] some money or credit cards or something. That's wrong, too. It don't make you good just because you didn't kill nobody!"
"Sure it does. Sure it does." Crab took Jimmy's face in his hands. "Don't it make a difference if it's all I got left? What else do I have? I can't say I never stole anything. I can't say I was a saint...."
(Myers, Somewhere... 1992, Google Books)

Crab has a personal moral system and, in that system, killing is a worse crime than stealing. In his mind, since he has been wrongly convicted of murder, stealing in the defense of his good name is a justifiable crime, minor in comparison. While Jimmy equates the two, Crab reasons that if he had been accused of stealing rather than murder, he would be better received by society. He knows he is not a perfect man, or even a good one, but he knows he is better than his reputation as a killer, and he desperately wants his son to accept him in that light, even if not as a "saint."

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nano101 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

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I think the reason crab believes killing is as bad as stealing is because the two are not really diffrent. When you kill you are stealing someones life in a sense the two things are very alike. You could even say killing goes under the category of stealing. 

aznboy578's profile pic

aznboy578 | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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NonChristian example: If you are a thief than it isin't permanent. For example if you steal a car you will be able to replace it. But if you are a killer that is worse because you killed someone and the someone you killed friends will get permanently damaged.


Christian example: iF you are a thief and if you are a killer both are just really bad. One is not worse than another but they are just really bad. Killing your own family and stealing. This is terrible, in the ten commandments there is a rule about no stealing.

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