An Analysis of the Message of Piri Thomas' Down These Mean Streets

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Piri Thomas was the narrator of the autobiography, Down These Mean Streets. It is the story of a boy who grew up through a life of drugs, crime, and jail to become a man This made us get into his thoughts and see what he saw. This paper tells about the message that Piri Thomas is trying to get across to his readers. The book has a main message, this paper will try and make it easier to understand what this message is.

All the things that happen in the book eventually lead to one main message. That message is take what life gives you and try to make the best of it, and if you can not, try again.

One example of this is when Piri was very young with his friends. Him and his friends all knew that they were fast, and could steal really easy. They decided to make the best of their skills, and start their own little lemonade buisness.

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They needed materials, and they went to the local supermarket and stole as much as they could, and a pitcher. With the skill that they had, Piri decided to use their skills again, and rob another supermarket. It was a hot day, and they made the best of it by selling lemonade. They were all good at stealing, and they made the best of that by stealing lots and lots of stuff to make lemonade. Then, they did it again. Another time when they used that message was the time after he got out on parole.

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He tried making the best of the situation that he had on jail, but it was not good enough for the parole board. He tried again, just like his message says. He tried as hard as he could to have good behavior. He stayed out of trouble no matter how hard he wanted to do what the other guys were doing. When a riot broke out, Piri was seconds away from being in the middle of that whole fiasco. “I pondered my predicament. I had been in jail five and a half years. In less than six months I would go before the board again. I owed them nine more years, which they’d probably make me do if I joined up with the boppers. That meand I’d be more that thirty-five years old when I got out. Caramba!(p. 282)” Another time when the message was used was at the end of the book. He ran into one of his friends on a roof. His friend was a crackhead, pot head, h-head, you name it, he had a head for it. Piri was really tempted when the guy started to shoot up, but he took a bad thing and made it into something good for him. He started talking to his old friend, and his friend told him how much money he wasted a day, seventy dollars. This showed Piri how much drugs would eat up into his life. The guy looked really bad, and it would have been obvious to anyone that he took lots of drugs.

This book about the tough life of a boy named Piri Thomas who lived through a life of drugs, crime, and jail to become a man. He was the narrator of this autobiography, so we got to get a close look at what he thought. He set a main message for this book. That message was to take what life gives you and try to make the best of it, and if you can not, try again.


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An Analysis of the Message of Piri Thomas' Down These Mean Streets. (2022, Apr 08). Retrieved from

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