A Hero Ain't Nothin' But a Sandwich

by Alice Childress
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Who is Jimmy Lee Powell in A Hero Ain't Nothin' But a Sandwich?

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In Alice Childress's novel A Hero Ain't Nothin' But A Sandwich, Benjie is a young African American boy who becomes addicted to heroin. Jimmy Lee Powell is a former friend of Benjie's who plays a role in Benjie's descent into addiction.

By his own admission, Jimmy Lee gave...

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In Alice Childress's novel A Hero Ain't Nothin' But A Sandwich, Benjie is a young African American boy who becomes addicted to heroin. Jimmy Lee Powell is a former friend of Benjie's who plays a role in Benjie's descent into addiction.

By his own admission, Jimmy Lee gave Benjie his first "jointa pot" when they used to be so close that they were always together. However, once Benjie became a full-fledged "junkie," Jimmy Lee doesn't like hanging out with Benjie, who has gone from best friend to a combative "hanger-on." Jimmy Lee does not enjoy experimenting with drugs; he says it is important to have his "wits woke" in the dangerous neighborhood in which he lives.

Later on in the book, when Jimmy Lee narrates a second chapter, he expresses his desperation to escape his home life for a time until he can think straight. Unlike Benjie, who receives help because of his addiction, Jimmy Lee feels as if no one notices his problems or offers any sort of aid because his case is not bad enough to be noticed. Jimmy Lee wishes that he and Benjie were still friends, but he is scared of what Benjie has become.

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