Al Capone Does My Shirt Major Character Analysis

Gennifer Choldenko

Al Capone Does My Shirts

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Al Capone Does My Shirt Major Character Analysis

Moose (Matt) Flanagan

The protagonist goes through remarkable growth and maturation over the course of the story. At the beginning of the novel, he is self-absorbed and miserable in his new surroundings and speaks of his autistic sister, Natalie, in not-so polite terms. His main focus seems to be on the injustice of his situation.  However, he is also clear to point out that he is a responsible kid who follows the rules, possibly to a fault. Because of his family’s financial circumstances, Moose is forced to become more responsible for his sister, and as a result, he must open up more to his new friends. By including her in their daily activities, Moose makes Natalie a part of their group and all of this extra time with her allows him to see things from her point of view.  He becomes more concerned for her wellbeing, even speaking out to his mom and breaking the rules of no contact with prisoners by writing Al Capone a letter to try and help Natalie. His special relationship with his sister proves that he can empathize with others and he becomes less self-centered as the novel goes on.

Natalie Flanagan

Natalie has autism and although she can communicate to some extent, to a large degree, she cannot express her emotions or thoughts the way most people can. She sometimes suffers severe emotional outbursts and can become catatonic. She has a strong affinity for certain things, namely buttons and rocks, lemon cake, counting, and indexes, and this makes her unique. Rather than removing these obsessions from her life—as Helen was directed to by Mrs. Kelly—Moose allows Natalie to engage with them because it brings her contentment, much like baseball does for Moose. It is in Natalie’s growing relationship with Moose that allows her to express her individuality and eventually, Moose convinces their mother to treat her as who she is, and not try to “fix” her by denying reality. The fact that Natalie develops a relationship with a new person (prisoner #105) suggests that she is capable of more than what her family expects of her.

Helen…

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