56 pages 1 hour read

Manchild in the Promised Land

Nonfiction | Autobiography / Memoir | Adult | Published in 1965

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Chapters 4-6

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 4 Summary

After two and a half years, Claude is released from Wiltwyck. He plans to do the same things he was doing before being sent away but knows he will do them better because he is “older and bigger and hipper” (93). He returns home to find that Butch, Danny, and Kid have heroin addictions, so he decides to spend time with his Wiltwyck friends. He meets Johnny D., a 21-year-old Wiltwyck alum, who buys stolen goods from Claude and works as a “pimp” and gun dealer. Johnny soon offers Claude and two friends, Dunny and Tito, heroin in exchange for stolen cigarettes. Claude takes some of the drug but becomes incredibly sick and is convinced he is dying. Danny revives him, and Claude swears never to use heroin again.

Claude continues spending time with Johnny, who teaches him about life as a “pimp.” Claude starts thinking of and referring to women as “bitches” (99). He describes an instance in which he and some other boys sexually assault a sex worker named Clara, which he ultimately found to be a disappointing experience. Johnny also teaches Claude how to box by hitting him repeatedly, claiming, after Claude gets angry, that the trick to effective fighting is to stay calm.