49 pages 1 hour read

Jason Reynolds

The Boy in the Black Suit

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2015

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Chapters 4-6Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 4 Summary: “Nineteen”

Mr. Ray comments that Matt’s suit is an appropriate choice when Matt arrives at work that afternoon. He tells Matt it would be good if more boys his age dressed appropriately: “Pants so low, they gotta walk like cowboys” (59). Then Mr. Ray and Robbie ask Matt to be a pallbearer at that afternoon’s funeral. Robbie arrives and asks if Matt will do it; Mr. Ray and Robbie relied on Cork to help as pallbearer, but he did not arrive. Mr. Ray explains that a pallbearer’s job is to help carry the casket into and out of the church for a funeral service. Matt balks at first, but Mr. Ray says he needs Matt. Matt agrees but worries he will drop the casket.

Robbie and two men make comments on the apparent expense of the casket and wonder aloud the profession of the deceased. In the church, Matt and the other five pallbearers carry the heavy casket down the aisle. Mr. Ray opens the lid and tells Matt that the dead person was a 19-year-old girl who died of an asthma attack. Matt is in disbelief. The service proceeds. Many teenagers are in attendance. They process past the casket with expressions of surprise.