Street Victim finds no helper
the short story On the Sidewalk Bleeding by Evan Hunter the author tells us
about the problems with the different groups of mainly young people organized in gangs in
the USA. The main thing is that there is not only a conflict between the gangs but another
conflict between the gangs and the people who are not in such gangs.
The 16-year-old boy Andy is lying in the street on the sidewalk after he was ambushed. He
belongs to a gang called The Royals and knows that he was attacked by the rival gang named
The Guardians. While lying there he begins to think about his situation and the story
shows that he is in trouble with himself.
At the beginning he does not realize that he is going to die because he seems to be often
involved in such street rumbles and therefore thinks it is just a little injury, although,
of course, he is hoping for someone to find and help him.
are three types of people who find him, but only one of them realizes that Andy needs
help. The first one is a drunken man who does not realize that Andy is injured badly. He
thinks Andy is drunk, too, and so he leaves him lying there. The third person is an old
woman who cannot hear very well and does not notice Andy at all. She is looking for
something in the garbage cans and so it can be assumed that she is poor, may be even
homeless. She leaves without seeing Andy lying there. These persons stand for the group of
people who need help like Andy. They cannot help Andy because they are needy themselves.
But the second person who comes along the road is a boy with his girlfriend. The author
even mentions their names. So the young couple is not anonymous like the first and the
third person. Freddie the boy finds Andy and also sees that he is injured,
that he needs help. But his girlfriend Angela is afraid because they notice Andys
jacket with the name of his gang on it. So the couple knows that he belongs to that gang.
They decide not to help him. The young couple is most important for Andys
development. As he sees the couple he thinks of his own girlfriend Laura and then
when he sees them kissing he wonders if he would ever be able to kiss Laura again.
That is when he realizes that he is going to die. And it is also the couple´s fear which
shows him that there is not only his gang and another gang, but people who are generally
afraid of gangs. They do not want to be involved in their violence. And so he wonders
about his own role in the gang and in society. He thinks that he is just an anonymous
member of any gang and that he wants to be appreciated as an individual. In the end Andy
takes off his jacket with the name on it because he does not want to remain an unknown
member. He wants to be Andy and he wants the other people to know that. Getting out of his
jacket seems to be like the liberation from the gang. His girlfriend Laura finds him dead
and fetches a policeman but as he sees the jacket with the title The Royals on it the boy
seems just one more victim of gang warfare for which he has no sympathy. (C.H., 11c, March
The pride of a Royal turns
text On the Sidewalk Bleeding by Evan Hunter is about a 16-year-old boy called
Andy who is a member of the Royals and is stabbed by a Guardian.
Injured, he is lying on the sidewalk and waiting for someone passing to help him. But on
this rainy day not many people are passing him. He is very unlucky because nobody wants to
help him or does not want to get mixed up in the conflict between the Royals
and the Guardians. The help of his girlfriend Laura comes too late. He is
already dead when she arrives.
whole story is written in the 3rd person, but even if a narrator always is more
distant to the events than the person speaking himself in the 1st person, he
makes the reader feel sorry for Andy as he feels directly involved and partly personifies
Hunter mentions directly at the beginning that Andy is going to die. Therefore the reader
knows more than Andy does because he thinks he cant be dying, not from a
street rumble, not from just getting cut. But his thoughts are changing through the
whole story. First he just thinks about his future together with Laura because he does not
realise that he could die if nobody is helping him. After the first pedestrian a
drunken person who does not notice Andys injury Andy thinks more and more
about Laura, because he knows that Laura, of course, would help him immediately. While a
couple who could have helped him, comes along he is jealous because he sees them kissing
and therefore he suddenly hungered for Lauras mouth. The word
Love, said by the couple, causes Andys drastic change in thoughts. He
suddenly thinks that he is going to die but still in combination with thinking about
couple does not help him because they dont want to get mixed up in this.
Andys reaction to this is clear: He cannot understand why they are afraid. He
himself was not afraid of the Guardians and never turkeyed out of a rumble with the
the frightened couple Andy begins to think about his life, what he has done and what he
could do in the future if he was not dying. His conclusion is that he has not lived
makes the reader very sad even if he knows right from the beginning that this would
happen. But the way Andys emotional thoughts are presented is very decisive for the
reader´s sympathy. They are very emotional.
begins to think about his life just because he is dying. That emphasises that he does not
want to die. He was so full of pride when he became a Royal but he knows that
this is the reason why he is dying now. Not he himself as Andy is dying. No, anyone of the
Royals is dying. It is just the fact that each gang wants to wipe out the
other one. But they not necessarily know who they are stabbing. It is amazing how people
can just kill. How can there be so much hate?
makes Andy sad because he will not see Laura again. It is just the jacket he wore lettered
with Royal. In the end he sincerely wants to get rid of this jacket. He knows
that this is the purpose for everything which has happened: First of all that he was
stabbed at all. And secondly that the couple did not want to help him. Finally it is clear
for him that the jacket was a stupid meaningless thing that was robbing him of his
Hunter combines stories of possible helpers with all the different thoughts of Andy in the
whole story. Therefore the reader can detect the change in Andy and feels that he would
have to help Andy if he could because nobody else wants to do it.
think that Evan Hunter wants to express that you have to think about your life while you
are living because when you are nearly dead it is too late. You should always be aware of
the things you are doing. Another
thing he wants to convey is that everybody is just thinking about himself. People do not
want to help others if they might be in danger then. I think people should try to live
more with each other and not alongside each other. Then Andy would not have had to die as
young as he was. (F.S., 11c, March 2009)
A Royal is stabbed
and dies being Andy
the story a 16-year-old boy named Andy is lying on the sidewalk bleeding. He got stabbed,
probably by some member of another gang than the one Andy is in (THE ROYALS),
and is now injured really badly. Every now and then people are walking down the alley.
There is a drunken man who is the first one to notice Andy at all. But Andy can neither
move nor speak; therefore he is not able to accept the mans offer to call the police
for help. So the drunkard just walks off, leaving Andy behind in the cold and rain, almost
dying. Then a couple, Freddie and his girlfriend Angela, appears. Unsure what to do,
Freddie decides to check whether Andys all right. As he sees the emblem THE
ROYALS on the jacket though, he turns away from him and tells Angela to leave,
although she is hesitating.
While Andy is getting more and more desperate, an old woman suddenly approaches. But she
is deaf and does not pay attention to anyone else than herself, so she cannot hear the
noise Andy is making to draw her attention. She passes by without even noticing him.
Realizing he is about to die, Andy succeeds in getting his jacket off, because he does not
want to belong to THE ROYALS anymore. A little later Laura, Andys girlfriend, finds
him dead on the sidewalk. Shocked she fetches a policeman who insists on calling Andy a
Royal, whereas Laura wants to speak well of him by calling him a normal boy
over the text there are passages where you can see into Andys mind and share his
thoughts. At the beginning he does not really think the fight was a bad thing to happen,
because he is proud to be a member of the gang The Royals. He is optimistic,
as he believes someone will come and help him. At this point of the story, he does not
notice yet that he is actually dying.
Quite often he thinks of his girlfriend Laura and wants her to be at his side. Towards the
end this wish increases more and more, when he realizes that his life will soon come to an
His efforts to make the people who are walking down the alley hear or see him get more
determined as well. The desperation is nearly overwhelming him. He thinks about his time
as a Royal and the persistent fight between Royals and Guardians. This is when he
understands that being a member of either gang is not as good as he always thought. That
is why his last thing he is determined to do is getting off his jacket. He does not want
to be found as a Royal, he wants to die as Andy.
main subject in this story is Andys conflict with himself. Thus the analysis of the
whole story can be combined with the Andys thoughts and development.
At first he worries only about his injury and tries to find out how bad he is injured. At
that point he is still proud to be a member of THE ROYALS. From his point of view, he has
achieved a good reputation belonging to such a gang. He maybe does not want to be treated
as a loser, so he thinks it is a good thing to be part of this group. It is also possible
that he wants to be cool in front of his friends, especially in front of his girlfriend.
Many people walk past Andy, but none of them really helps him. Evan Hunter did this to
increase the readers sympathy for the young, helpless and injured boy. Since he does
not get any kind of help, he slowly realizes that he is about to die, and so he uses the
time he has got left to reflect on his own life. He
does not want his life to end like this, for he is so young and has not lived yet.
His plan to marry his girlfriend Laura some day changes into the desperate wish to see and
kiss her only one last time.
When the couple passes by and turns away from him after noticing the emblem on Andys
jacket, he regrets being a member of THE ROYALS. He understands that there are far more
important things in life than just being cool and having a good reputation
among his peers. He does not remember anymore why he has spent a lot of time with his gang
instead of meeting Laura or doing something with his family. Andy can no longer bear to
have anything to do with THE ROYALS, so he gets his jacket off. Now the era of his life
which caused him a lot of pain is over. Unfortunately he cannot enjoy a new life without
the gang, because he dies. But at least he passes away being Andy, and not being a Royal.
(M.M., 11c, March 2009)
Gang solidarity vs. indivual identity
In the story On
the Sidewalk Bleeding, written by Evan Hunter, a sixteen-year-old boy named Andy is
lying injured on the sidewalk. He was stabbed by a member of a gang named
Guardians, because Andy was wearing a jacket with the name of another
gang on it, named The Royals. Andy is bleeding and he cannot speak or cry out
for help, so he is waiting for someone to find him.
First a man comes
down the alley in which Andy is lying, but the man is drunk, so he does not realise that
Andy is injured. The man does not help Andy and goes away.
Then a couple comes along the street, but at first they do not see the injured boy. When
Andy makes some noise, the boy named Freddie approaches him and realises that Andy is hurt
badly. But Freddie does not help him, because he has seen that Andy is a Royal and he does
not want to get mixed up in this conflict. Freddie and his girlfriend Angela think about
calling a cop, but in the end they do not help Andy.
Next an old lady walks into the alley and takes some things out of some garbage cans. She
is homeless and needs help for herself. She neither sees nor hears Andy, because it is
raining and she is a little deaf. So Andy does not get help from her either.
In the end Andy´s girlfriend Laura finds him and tries to help him, but he is already
dead. Laura does everything to help her boyfriend, she is runs until she finds a
policeman. The cop notices that Andy is dead, but he only sees that the dead boy is a
Royal and is not interested that his name is Andy.
At the beginning of
the short story Andy does not realise that he is dying. He feels proud of the rough rumble
and only wonders if his girlfriend Laura already misses him. He thinks about Laura and
about their common future. Maybe at that point he unconsciously realises that he is going
to die. At least he feels that he needs help. Andy wants the drunken man to call a cop,
but he does not get help. When he notices the couple he thinks about Laura. He wonders
where she is and if he will ever kiss her again. For the first time he wonders if he is
dying, but he cannot understand that such a
rumble, which happens every day, can end his life. Andy does not understand why the
teenagers Freddie and Angela are afraid of the Guardians, because he himself is not scared
of them. Andy remembers how happy he was when The Royals had accepted him. At
that time The Royals were important to him and he felt some kind of pride. But
now he realises that he is Andy, not a Royal anymore. He wonders whether there
is anything good about a gang while he is dying. Now he feels no pride anymore, he only
wants to be Andy and wonders if the Guardian stabbed Andy or the Royal.
Andy feels weak and
alone. He thinks about his life and wonders what he has reached in his short life. He
recognizes that other things are more important than The Royals and it makes
him sad that his life is going to be over. He does not want to die because he has not
The Royals and the jacket he is wearing have obtained another meaning to him
now. He holds the jacket responsible for this rumble and for his death, because nobody has
helped him. So it becomes very important to him to take off the jacket, to die without it,
knowing that he is Andy.
The story has a
drastic beginning. A boy is bleeding and it is raining. Evan Hunter mentions the name of
the gang on the jacket, The Royals, before he mentions the name of the main
character: Andy. To begin with the jacket and the gang are more important than Andy´s
individual personality. Already at the beginning of the story the reader is told that the
boy will die, although Andy himself does not know that. So the reader begins to feel sorry
for Andy. The reader hopes that he will survive, so there is some kind of tension what
will happen although in the end Andy will die.
There is a detailed description of Andy´s pain and wounds, so the reader sympathises with
him even more. Altogether the author mentions many details, which are partly unimportant
like the colour of the sidewalk. But with such detailed information the reader can
better imagine the situation.
Andy is lying on the street and reflects what happened to him. He thinks about his
girlfriend Laura and their common future. He wants to move away once they are married, but
moving away from this district into a better area means that he cannot a member of the
gang any longer. Andy accepts a definite breach with the gang, because the relation to
Laura seems more important for him. Again the reader feels sorry for Andy knowing that he
would have some happy future, if he was not dying.
Some people are
walking past Andy, but they do not really help him. The drunken man does not realise that
Andy is hurt. He even forces some liquor on Andy, so the reader feels even more sorry for
him. There is some kind of irony because at first the man wants to call a cop, so Andy
would be helped, but in the end the drunken man changes his mind and says, this time
you lucky, because he thinks that Andy is scared of the police.
The couple who could
have helped Andy are afraid of getting into trouble themselves, so they do not help Andy
either. Andy´s development depends on the behaviour of the other people, so the behaviour
of the couple makes him think about his life. He thinks about Laura and he wonders whether
he will see her again. And he thinks about the rumble and about The Royals.
Andy does not understand why the couple is afraid, but now he wonders if he made a mistake
by being a member of a gang. Here Andy´s development gets clear, because he wonders about
the significance of the name on his jacket. He realises that the name loses its meaning
when he is dying. So Andy tries to take off the jacket because he holds it responsible for
his death. He does not want to die wearing this jacket and he does not want the person who
finds him to say that he is a Royal.
When the old lady
walks into the alley, the reader wonders why she is mentioned, because she does not even
see Andy, so she cannot help him either. But it makes the reader sympathise more with
Andy. The old lady is homeless and a little deaf, so she cannot help Andy because she
needs some kind of help for herself. The rain prevents her from hearing the noises Andy
makes it is very tragic.
The appearance of
these people makes the story more realistic than for example a appearance of a doctor.
Because of the rain only some people are outside who are homeless or likewise, so they
cannot really help Andy. Laura is the only person who really helps Andy, because she is
attentive and realises that Andy is hurt. She loves him and has not got any prejudices
because of his jacket, she only sees Andy, not the Royal in the boy. But when
she finds him it is too late because he is already dead.
policeman Laura has called has prejudices against The Royals and has not got
any pity with Andy. So the story ends like it has begun: the jacket and The
Royals are in the centre of the people´s minds, although Andy wanted to prevent
this by taking off his jacket. Andy understood which mistakes he made and showed remorse.
Apart from him, only Laura understands which things are really important and maybe the
reader, too. (C.S., 11c, March 2009)