Why is Hat a good and bad leader in Miguel Street?

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seaofknowledge eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hat is a good leader initially because he is a sort of father figure to those living on Miguel Street. He is not only very amiable as a person but also a role model (at least in the beginning) to the younger people who look up to him. He seems to have his head on straight and does not engage in some of the destructive behavior that other inhabitants of the Street appear to be suffering from. He is also a character that the narrator admires and respects.

However, later in the novel, we are allowed to discover the shortcomings of Hat who turns out to have his own weaknesses. He ends up in jail for beating a woman, losing the respect of those on the Street, including the narrator. Moreover, when the narrator decides to leave Miguel Street permanently and seek education and a life elsewhere, Hat, whom he has looked up to for much of the story, doesn't appear to care much. 

Also, it was not Hat who encouraged the narrator to leave Miguel Street and make a future for himself but rather the narrator's mother. So as a leader and as a role model, Hat fails in the latter part of the story. He disappoints the narrator immensely.