Miracle's Boys Summary
by Jacqueline Woodson

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Miracle's Boys Summary

(Literary Essentials: African American Literature)

Miracle’s Boys tells the story of Lafayette, Charlie, and Ty’ree Bailey, brothers orphaned by the tragic deaths of their parents. The entire novel takes place over the course of two days, a Friday and Saturday, though it incorporates flashbacks to earlier events as well.

Charlie recently returned home after spending over two years in Rahway Home for Boys, a juvenile detention center. Watching Charlie get ready to leave the apartment with his new friend Aaron, Lafayette laments the changes that have become evident in his brother since he came home. Once, Charlie was the kind of kid who would cry over a wounded dog he saw in the street and who would stay up late telling stories to his younger brother. Now, he rarely even looks at or speaks to Lafayette, and he usually denies feeling anything at all. Charlie seems to prefer spending time with hardened characters such as Aaron and acting tough in the streets. Lafayette has even taken to calling Charlie “Newcharlie,” because his behavior and personality have become so remarkably different.

Charlie and Aaron leave Lafayette alone in the apartment, where he sits watching television until Ty’ree gets home. Through flashbacks, Lafayette shares his life story. Shortly before Lafayette was born, his father died from hypothermia after he rescued a woman and her dog from a frozen lake in Central Park. Three years ago, Charlie robbed a neighborhood candy store at gunpoint and was arrested. He was only twelve at the time, so he was sent to Rahway instead of prison for his crime. While Charlie was gone, about two years ago, their mother died of complications from diabetes. Lafayette was the one who found her that morning, unconscious in her bed. He carries guilt over her death, thinking that he should have been able to get help for her sooner.

Ty’ree returns home from work that Friday to find Charlie gone and Lafayette upset about all that has happened to their family. Ty’ree does the best he can to reassure Lafayette, but both young men become upset talking about the loss of their mother and the situation with Charlie. Later that night, Ty’ree reveals to Lafayette that he had been there in Central Park with their father on the day he died. Lafayette feels a new kinship with his brother upon learning this truth, for they were each present for the death of one of their parents.

That night, Charlie is arrested for riding in a stolen car and participating in a gang initiation. Ty’ree and Lafayette go to the police station in the middle of the night to get him. If Charlie is sent back to Rahway, Ty’ree will lose custody of Lafayette, who will be sent south to live with their grandaunt Cecile. A kind officer releases...

(The entire section is 681 words.)