Study Guide

Al Capone Does My Shirts Part 1, Chapter 1

By Gennifer Choldenko

Part 1, Chapter 1

Devil's Island

  • Moose Flanagan has just moved to Alcatraz—or as he puts it, "a twelve-acre rock covered with cement" (1.1).
  • Only a few kids live on this island. All of their parents have jobs looking after the prisoners, who are generally considered the worst of the worst. Moose doesn't want to be here.
  • He has a sister who goes to some special school because she's different from other kids.
  • Moose describes what he sees from his apartment window: high towers, where security guards carry the only weapons on land. He can see water surrounding the island.
  • His dad works as a security guard and an electrician, and right now, his mom is unpacking and his sister is organizing buttons on the floor.
  • Natalie, his sister, speaks in broken phrases about all the things that are happening to the family. She seems aware of what's going on, and even though she's autistic, Moose says, "I've never been good at fooling Natalie" (1.17).
  • He listens to the silence that's all around the island, and thinks about how his best friend from home referred to it as "Devil's Island." Yikes.

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