Study Guide

Louis and Edie in Homecoming

By Cynthia Voigt

Louis and Edie

The Tillerman kids meet up with Louis and Edie while they're staying at Rockland State Park. They first approach Dicey when she's by herself and kind of freak her out with their questions. Well, Louis does at least:

"Don't pry, Lou. Leave him be," the girl interrupted […] "You'll scare him," she said to the boy.

"Naw I won't. Will I?"

"I dunno," Dicey said.

"I know about him and it's okay," Lou said. Dicey looked up in alarm. She couldn't see his face clearly. "You ran away, didn't you? It all got to be too much for you, and you cut out. Isn't that about it?"

"So what?" Dicey asked.

"So we're in the same boat, on the same trip. So you haven't got any reason to worry about us squealing on you, or laying a heavy go-home message on you. So, relax." (1.4.82-87)

You can probably tell a whole lot about Louis and Edie from this exchange. Louis is a bit of a presumptuous know-it-all, and he intimidates people, but doesn't really care. Edie, on the other hand, is more of a gentle soul. She feels badly for Dicey (whom she also mistakes for a boy) and tries to get Louis to back off. They're sort of an odd pair because Edie usually seems like she's scared of Louis, too. Seriously, girl—not that you asked, but we're thinking you could do better.

Their situation also contrasts kind of ironically with the one that the Tillermans find themselves in. Louis and Edie are runaways. They have families, but they've decided to leave them behind, while the Tillerman kids have been abandoned and would love to have their parents back in their lives. It's like people always want what they can't have or something.

Louis also isn't the greatest influence on the kids—especially the boys. He teaches James that stealing is no big deal because "there's nothing you can count on—except the speed of light. And dying" (1.8.65). He's cheerful, too. In all seriousness, though, Louis actually is a bit of a nihilist, and a Robin Hood figure, too.

Maybe Louis has a point about income inequality, but it's also clear that he's trying to justify his own actions a whole lot. See, when he and Edie took off, they stole Edie's father's checkbook. That's how they're surviving out there—by stealing. Dicey isn't willing to stoop to their level, though; she still has standards and believes her family should, too. Sure, life isn't fair, but that doesn't mean you need to treat people unfairly either. Take that, Louis.

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