34 pages 1 hour read

Jacqueline Woodson

Miracle's Boys

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1996

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Symbols & Motifs

The Photographs of Miracle

Early in the novel, Lafayette references two photographs of his mother—the only photographs of her. He explains that Charlie destroyed the other photographs of their mother after her death. Lafayette harbors anger and resentment toward Charlie for this action, citing it as evidence that his brother has changed and grown mean since his incarceration at the juvenile detention center. Lafayette clings to the two remaining photographs, using them to remind him of his mother and to keep her close to him.

As the novel unfolds, Ty’ree hypothesizes that Charlie’s actions are performed not out of meanness or ill intent toward Lafayette but rather out of frustration for not being able to prevent their mother’s death. In his lack of agency, he grows destructive, taking what action he is capable of. This creates further distance between him and Lafayette. After Charlie is beaten up by a gang member, however, the brothers reach a turning point. Charlie regrets his previous ill-treatment of Lafayette and recognizes the harmful path he is on, as well as its effects on his brothers. When Lafayette shows Charlie the remaining photos of their mother, Charlie softens, recalling his love for their mother and appearing moved by the memories of her.