Alligator Bayou is not only full of social issues—racism, immigration, assimilation, and more—but the natural world packs a powerful punch in this book too. And while the landscape and geography of Louisiana in general speckles the story, it's the swamp that really presents itself as a force to be reckoned with. It's crawling with dangerous, sharp-toothed, poisonous, and dubious creatures, after all, and try though he might, our main man Calo just can't seem to avoid this murky place. For more on the swamp, be sure to check out the "Symbols" section.
Questions About Man and the Natural World
In what ways do different characters have relationships with the natural world? Charles? Cirone? Joseph?
Think about Patricia and Francesco. What philosophies of interacting with the natural world are shared in this book?
Is there a message in the text that Napoli wants us to get about how the natural world works? What is it and how does she communicate it?
Chew on This
Charles and the boys keep going back into the swamps for money and food—in other words, it's all about survival.
Charles and the boys are foolish for risking their lives by going into the swamp—there are much safer ways they can earn money.