47 pages 1 hour read

Jacqueline Woodson

After Tupac and D Foster

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2008

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Character Analysis

Narrator

Content Warning: This section contains discussions of race, racism, racial identity, anti-gay bias, gun violence and fatalities, wrongful conviction/imprisonment, and the foster system.

The narrator of After Tupac and D Foster is one of the main characters in the novel, but we never know her name. She never identifies herself, and her mother and friends never refer to her by name. This makes it easier to connect this unnamed person to the author or maybe even themselves; since she doesn’t have a name she can stand in for anyone who relates to her experiences. When the girls find out that D Foster’s real name is Desiree Johnson, D asks, “What difference does it make? [...] You gonna like me less because I have a white mama? [...] Or because my name wasn’t my name?” (128). To her, names don’t really matter. Likewise, not knowing the narrator’s name does not impede her relatability.

The story starts when she is 11 years old and ends when she is 13. She is quiet and observant and her friends and neighbors regard her as “the brain.” She lives with her mother in Queens and has lived near her friend Neeka her whole life. She knows that her life has been a bit sheltered, especially compared to D’s, but she doesn’t crave freedom and adventure the way Neeka does.

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