Miracle's Boys Questions and Answers
by Jacqueline Woodson

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Does Charlie forgive Lafayette?

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In Jacqueline Woodson's novel Miracle's Boys, the opening chapters reveal that Charlie (whom Lafayette, the narrator, dubs Newcharlie) blames Lafayette for his mother's death. Charlie has just returned from a stint in a juvenile detention center and is regaling his friend Aaron with tales from his time there when it is revealed that Charlie holds Lafayette, his younger brother, responsible for Miracle's death. As the novel progresses, readers see that Lafayette was not directly responsible for his mother's death. He was just the last person to see her alive. His mother died from complications from diabetes.

After Charlie's difficulties fitting into family life where his oldest brother Ty'ree is in charge, he makes some bad decisions and ends up back at Rahway again. It is after this encounter that Charlie is humbled and comes to understand that the three brothers—Lafayette, Ty'ree, and himself—are the only family they have left. They need to be each other's keepers rather than enemies who blame each other for their misfortunes.

Toward the end of the novel, Charlie reveals that he feels he is to blame for Miracle's death since he caused her so much worry by being sent to juvenile detention. He was really projecting his own guilt onto Lafayette because it was easier than facing his own failings. In the end, all three brothers move past all the hurts they've caused each other and make a decision to go forward as a family. All three brothers forgive each other for the hurts they've all encountered.

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