The Corner (1997)
by David Simon and Edward Burns
Chapter One (3-56)
A. (3-8) Fat Curt on New Year’s Eve
What makes the traditional New Year’s fusillade a good metaphor for the general situation in West Baltimore?
B. (8-19) Gary McCullough
Why would a man who had achieved the American Dream in the ghetto throw it all away and become a drug addict?
C. (19-32) DeAndre McCullough
To what extent has DeAndre, at fifteen, already been swallowed by corner life?
Why doesn’t DeAndre keep his promise to Ms. Davies and stay in school?
D. (32-44) Ella Thompson
What impact has Ella made on not only the children but also the addicts in her neighborhood? Is it enough? What kind of program would be needed to seriously address the problem?
E. (44-56) Fran Boyd
Describe Fran’s character. What makes her a successful player on the corner?
Why did Fran and Gary’s marriage fail (with such devastating consequences)?
Describe Fran’s relationship with DeAndre. Can she make any claim to being a real mother? What would DeAndre have been like without her?
Chapter One (Review)
Of all the characters we have encountered, which ones do you believe will escape the street life?
Compare the conditions of this neighborhood in the 1990’s to the Washington neighborhood of Talley’s Corner. How have conditions changed?
Chapter Two (57-120)
A. (57-60) We Can’t Stop It!
Why can’t the drug problem be stopped, according to Burns and Simon?
B. (60-74) The New Corner of the 1990’s
How has corner culture changed in the last thirty years?
How does the analogy to ‘a watering hole’ fit?
What were the old rules? What are the new rules?
C. (74-86) Long Day’s Journey: Fat Curt
D. (86-99) The Thirty Year History of the West Side’s Decline
What political point are the writers making by entwining the story of William McCullough with the story of his neighborhood’s decline?
What is the terrible irony of the impact of de-segregation on West Baltimore?
E. (99-112) Gary in the Snake’s Grasp
F. (112-120) DeAndre and Tyreeka
How does DeAndre get busted?
A. (120-136) Rec Center Hoops and Blue’s Arts and Craft’s Program
How has Ella instilled hope in her neighborhood?
With government assistance could her program accomplish more?
What would be suitable expectations?
B. (136-147) Tyreeka Visits DeAndre at Boys’ Village
(What was the most recent scandal at the Hickey School all about?
How will this issue come back to haunt Kathleen Kennedy Townsend during her gubernatorial campaign?)
C. (147-158) The Return of Officer Bob Brown
How effective was Mayor Schmoke’s “community policing” policy of fighting crime?
D. (158-169) The Paper Bag Law
What have been the consequences of the “just say no” policy towards the drug trade?
What would the authors think of O’Malley’s “zero tolerance” policy?
E. (169-182) The Happy House on Bruce Street
A. (185-198) Gary’s Caper
B. (198-212) History of Ella’s Rec Center
Why are volunteer organizations essential to the health of any neighborhood?
Why didn’t community action programs work in the 1960’s?
What is ‘crimping ‘em up’?
By what age have the rules of the street been taught to the young?
C. (212-221) Spring Cleaning
What is the authors’ implied comment about Echo House’s Programs?
D. (221-229) Tyreeka and DeAndre
Why does De Andre want this baby?
Why does Tyreeka want this baby?
Compare the authors’ implied comment with that of Liebow in Tally’s Corner.
E. (230-236) Babies Making Babies
Why do the teens in the ghetto conceive so many illegitimate children?
What value system, beyond middle class morality, is at work?
What is the conventional wisdom about this issue in middle class America?
A. (237-246) Baltimore Recovery Center
Why won’t the government spend more money on recovery and treatment centers?
What is Fran’s plan?
B. (246-255) R.C. and Hoops
What could be done to save R.C.?
C. (255-266) Gary’s Assault Trial
What does this story tell us about the effectiveness of our justice system and the impact of the law on the multi-billion dollar drug market?
D. (266-276) DeAndre’s Oratorical Contest
What small victories do teachers in our public school system accomplish on a daily basis?
Is it enough to save DeAndre?
Have we made our best effort?
E. (276-285) Public Education in the Ghetto
Why, according to the authors, can education never succeed in addressing the needs of inner city kids?
A. (289-300) Old School Hoops
What has happened to the alumni of Ella’s program?
B. (300-307) DeAndre’s Interview at McDonalds
C. (307-318) The Baker Street Scrap Yard Caper
What shocks Gary when this caper goes awry?
D. (319-329) The Corner Stews in the Summer Heat
What programs might assist an old addict like Fat Curt if he wanted to get straight?
E. (329-338) Fran’s Turn Around
How about Fran?
Does she deserve the humiliation she experiences when the detox center sends her home?
A. (339-349) DeAndre: The Expectant Father
How does DeAndre understand his responsibilities as a father?
Why won’t Tyreeka consider an abortion?
B. (349-359) Gary at Cardy’s Crab House
What effect does a regular routine have on Gary’s life?
Is Gary justified in comparing the situation in the ghettos of West Baltimore to the Holocaust?
Is the drug culture a creation of American racism?
C. (360-370) Fat Curt’s Aid Application
Does society have any responsibility to help Fat Curt?
What is the option to getting him into treatment?
D. (371-379) The Welfare
What is Fran’s experience like at Rosemount when she goes to apply for welfare?
What impact does welfare have on the corner?
What types of programs would Simon and Burns call for to effectively address the crisis in the cores of our cities?
What kind of national consensus would be required to pass such legislation?
In the current political climate what chance does such legislation have of passing?
What then should be done?
E. (379-390) Fran in Recovery
How does Fran get the new apartment?
A. (393-401) Pumpkin
When does R.C. begin to look at himself as a finished product and just go on down to the corner?
B. (401-410) The New House: 2500 Boyd Street
How long do families typically wait for Section 8 housing to become available?
What is Fran’s monthly budget?
What is her epic plan to stay away from the corner?
What is DeAndre’s epic plan to avoid the corner?
C. (410-419) Miss Ella’s Meditation
When Ella looks back on her work in the neighborhood, what satisfaction can she draw?
D. (419-426) Fran’s Brave New World
What pressures draw Fran back toward the corner world even though she has gotten clean?
E. (426-434) The Bottom
What would need to happen in Baltimore for everyone to realize that we have hit bottom?
A. (435-446) The White Boy Hillbilly Caper
Describe Gray’s latest scam. How does this one end up?
B. (446-453) Fran’s Relapse
How, miraculously, does Fran pull out of her sharp decline?
C. (453-464) DeAnte Tyree McCullough
After DeAndre’s return to the corner, how does Tyreeka find the will to survive?
D. (464-473) Blue’s Return
How is Blue able to make it while the rest of the gang slides towards death?
A. (474-479) The Thirty Year War on Drugs
Explain the furious, sardonic tone of this screed.
What is Vietnam logic?
B. (479-490) Shoot Out
Describe the violence. How is it different from our preconception of inner city violence?
C. (490-499) The Garden at Fayette and Monroe
How does the neighborhood group surprise Ella at the dedication of their small park?
How has she come to terms with the loss of her child?
D. (499-509) Gary’s Epiphany
When does Gary quit?
E. (509-519) No Pretending
How is Christmas Dinner different than Thanksgiving Dinner for the McCulloughs?
What point has DeAndre reached in his life on the corner?
Who escapes? Why?