The main focus of the story is how to cope with bullying without being of snitch and discrimination towards Jews and Negro. People have to endure and look forward despite obstacles in life.
The events in the story brought out the following biggest emotions from a reader:
1. Fear – The suspense and terror from Frankie’s ill intent toward Michael and the people around him. Gang’s superiority in neighborhood brought out fear from one’s safety. Even though Michael controls his emotion during the day despite being skirmish, the fear manifests itself through nightmares.
2. Anger – From the injustice that keeps happening around Michael: the bullying at candy store; the beating endured by Mr. G, the Rabbi Hirsch, Michael, and his mother; and vandalism in synagogue and Michael’s apartment.
3. Friendship or camaraderie –Sonny and Jimmy, who to tend to run away when situation gets tough, still make an effort to warn Michael from danger when Frankie poses a threat. Likewise, Michael tends to look out for his friends by appeasing their worries when redirecting conversation on other topic like baseball.
4. Hope – Miracles do happen. Despite of bad things happening in life, there is still a silver lining in Michael’s life. Mrs. Griffin won in horse lottery by using the sign “bowler hat” in Michael’s nightmares for betting guide. A simple discount for a suit was given to Michael as a token for learning Yiddish language given by a Jewish sales clerk. A prayer offered by Rabbi and Michael that somehow helps Robinson fine play in Dodgers. There is also golem who came to life to punish Frankie and his gangs and heals Rabbi Hirsch.