In Miracle's Boys, why does Charlie say one has to be tough to make it in the world?

In Miracle's Boys, Charlie says that one has to be tough to make it in the world because he learned this lesson from his stay in a juvenile correction facility. While there, he changed from a kid who'd cry over a wounded dog into a would-be gangster.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Once upon a time, Charlie was quite a sweet kid, a kid who would weep over a wounded dog if he saw one on the street. But now, after spending two years in Rahway, a notorious juvenile detention facility, he's a different young man entirely. Now, he's a hardened character well on the way to becoming an out-and-out gangster.

This "Newcharlie," as his younger brother Lafayette has taken to calling him, is a much tougher character than the sweet young boy who used to cry over injured dogs. But Charlie doesn't think there's anything wrong with that. If Rahway has taught him anything, it's that you've got to be tough in order to make it in his world. And this lesson that kept him going on the inside is one that he's sure will also stand him in good stead beyond the prison walls.

Charlie wants his brothers to follow this life lesson, too. He wants them to be tough, knowing as he does how hard it is for them to thrive in such a troubled neighborhood. Of course, there are different ways of showing toughness, most of which don't involve gang activities and crime. Ty'ree certainly showed that he was tough when he took care of Lafayette after their mother died. As for Charlie, he wasn't around; he was too busy acting tough inside Rahway.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial