Study Guide

Al Capone Does My Shirts Rules and Order

By Gennifer Choldenko

Rules and Order

Rules are everywhere on Alcatraz. In Al Capone Does My Shirts, the convicts are locked up for breaking society's rules, the people who live on Alcatraz have to follow boat loads of rules, and then Moose has to navigate his family's rules, too. So. Many. Rules.

For characters like Piper, there are plenty of ways around rules and regulations if you only look hard enough for them. But for Moose, whose main concern is keeping his family safe, the Island's rules have a very real role. The characters in the story have different ideas about how rules and order affect their lives, but in the end, it seems like in this book, coming to understand why rules exist at all—and how to relate to them—is a key part of growing up.

Questions About Rules and Order

  1. Why does Piper break the rules? Does her relationship with rule-breaking change over the course of the story? What does this tell you about her character? Use examples from the book, please.
  2. How do Moose's rules at home compare to the rules on Alcatraz? Which set of rules is ultimately stricter? Give evidence from the text, yo.
  3. Are all of the rules in Moose's life necessary? Why or why not? Again, turn to the text to support your argument.

Chew on This

Piper has no problem breaking the rules because there are no real consequences for her.

Moose doesn't really come into his own until he breaks the rules and contacts Al Capone.

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