Walter Dean Myers has written the short story. The text starts with in medias res, because we get into the middle of a narrative. At the beginning of the story we meet a group of friends who is sitting on a rail outside of Big Joe’s place and arguing about who is the best fighter in the world. Two police cars arrive and out comes the cops and they start questioning them. More police cars appears and people who is on the street are told not move. The police are looking for a man who has an automatic gun. Many people are curious to see what is going on. A kid screams that he just saw somebody in the building and the police starts shooting at the building. After a little while the owner of the building the police just shot at, shows up. She will not go with the cops by herself, so she wants a black guy to go with them up in the building. The person who tells the story goes with them and he is nervous. When they get up to hers apartment, they see that it is full of bullet holes and they find hers dog dead. A door near hers apartment is open; they walk in and see that they have killed a little black innocent kid. The narrator is not sure if he is going to tell his friends about what happened.
We don’t get much information about the characters in the story. The narrator is the main character in the story and he is a middle-aged man, who lives in Harlem. I guess he is a black man without a job, because he has time to be with his friends all day. He takes care to people he like, when the police are shooting outside the restaurant, our narrator is trying to protect the girl Mamie. He is a nervous man too, when he goes upstairs in the apartment, he does not want to see a dead person or be the first to entire the apartment. Mary is of the few who has a job downtown. She is the owner of the apartment building. She do not trust the cops, she wants to have a black man with them, when they go up in the building. The police kill Mary’s dog because they think there is a man in her apartment with an automatic gun. Besides those two people, we meet Pedro, Mr. Lynch and Willie, they are all friends with the narrator. We don’t know much about them, other than Willie thinks he knows everything because he is older than the others.
The story is told in a first person narrator, which is not always seems reliable because we only hear and see the story from his perspective. A first person narrator also makes you feel like you are a part of the story.
The short story takes place on 145th street in Harlem in New York. Harlem is a city part within the northern section of New York City quarter of Manhattan. Most people who lives there are African-American people. Harlem is known as a poor quarter with many unemployed people and a high level of crime.
The themes in the story could be discrimination, racism,
The song 41 shots by Bruce Springsteen compared to the baddest dog in Harlem, we can see that it can be dangerous to live there. You never know what is going to happen and you should always be polite when a cop stops you. Both texts are saying that you can be shot just for living your life without doing anything wrong. If we take an example from the baddest dog, the little kid was shot for no reason, he was just watching cartoons and he got curious when he heard some noises out on the street.