Study Guide

Alligator Bayou Tone

By Donna Jo Napoli


Honest, Curious, Innocent

The tone Calogero brings to the text as our narrator makes perfect sense given who he is as a character: a fourteen-year-old immigrant, new to the country and far away from any true family. He doesn't make any tricky maneuvers as he recounts events to us, instead telling them as he understands them, and he is generally both curious and uninformed about the world around him. Let's look at an interaction he has with Patricia to break this down a bit further:

"Don't you want to put shoes on first?"

"What for? Shoes make feet tender I got strong feet and I aim to keep them strong."

"You had shoes on at the party."

"I got a mother, too."

I laugh. "You make everything so… simple… I mean…"

"Ya'll calling me simple?" But she's laughing, too. (15.48-53)

Girls—like the United States—are entirely new terrain for Calo, and in this conversation with Patricia we see how uncertain he is about how to talk to her—he literally struggles to form a sentence—based on his innocence when it comes to the ladies. And since Calo shares this interaction with us as readers, including the spots where he stumbles, this passage also shows us the honest tone he takes when it comes to the story he's telling us as our narrator. That he explores Patricia's rationale for going shoeless is also an example of the general curiosity Calo brings to his life and, as such, his telling of it in this book.

This is a premium product

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

Please Wait...