Scooter as a narrator serves two functions in the plot. At one level, he is the older narrator who has escaped from the briarpatch to become one of those who are qualifying instead of just signifying, to paraphrase the character Dewitt Dawkins. Thus Scooter as narrator brings a sophisticated understanding to the plot as well as a perspective on the significance of the events that occur. Secondarily, Scooter is the teenager and young man who manages, unlike many others, to avoid all the hazards that await an African American male growing up in the South in the 1930’s. Scooter exhibits this double perspective through his fascination and interest not just in the intellectual life, but also in the active popular culture, of Gasoline Point, consisting mainly of blues, baseball, and nicknames.
The young Scooter is chosen by the teachers at Mobile County Training Academy as one of the academically talented elite. While he is going through the transition from adolescence to adulthood, he is aided by a wide-reaching network of supportive adults in Gasoline Point. Miss Tee, who is revealed to be Scooter’s biological mother, aids him in his education by making him promise to fulfill his potential. Scooter’s adoptive parents also urge him to become somebody “worthwhile.” Even Luzana Cholly, the itinerant blues musician, makes Scooter promise not to follow in his tracks, riding the rails from town to town, but to place all of his attention on his education.
(The entire section is 604 words.)