In " On the Sidewalk Bleeding," why don't any of the people who find Andy help him?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The people who enter the alley are concerned more with their own lives than with saving the life of another. The first man is, perhaps, oblivious to Andy's plight because he is blinded by his drunkenness and and the darkness of the alley so that he perceives the blood in which Andy lies as merely a pool of rain water. Further, when he offers Andy a drink and Andy cannot reply, he again assumes that Andy is so inebriated that he has lost control of his vocal muscles. While does say he may call a policeman on him, and Andy tries to nod yes, the drunk really doesn't want to do this because he, too, would probably be arrested for public drunkenness, so he tells Andy,

"This time you get off easy," he said again. He waved broadly at Andy, and then almost lost his footing. "S'long, buddy," he said.

When Freddie ducks into the darkness of the alley to kiss and fondle Laura, she hears a sound from Andy; Freddie discovers him, but when he sees Andy's jacket with "Royals" on it, he is afraid to help the bleeding youth, worried that the Guardians, the foe gang, might retaliate against him,

"If we get a copy, the Guardians'll find out who," Freddie said. "I don't know, Angela. I don't know."

Selfishly, he murmurs, "I'm sorry," to Andy and he and Laura flee.

The old woman who comes to check the garbage cans is too self-absorbed in her routine of scavenging and probably too deaf to hear anything. But, from her years of penury, she has also limited herself to her small inner world to the point that her mind has dulled and she ignores most of what goes on in her surroundings. "She had worked quickly and soundlessly, and now she was gone."

Even the policemen limits his identification of Andy to what he perceives in his own mind, writing in his black pad "A Royal," ignoring Laura's quiet "His name is Andy." 

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