I can't seem to find any similarities. Help?
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Of course the differences are clear. TJ looks for the easy way out. He is tempted to be somebody he is not. He often thinks of himself and does not consider consequences to himself and others because of his actions. Stacy is the opposite on all accounts. Stacy also comes from a family with identity while TJ comes from poor sharecroppers who simply try to stay alive. I think they have similarities simply driven by ethnicity and setting. They both live in an America where slavery has not been forgotten and they both live under the often violent shadow of white culture. They are both of similar age and see the world from that point of view of a boy navigating the waters into maturity and responsibility.
I suppose TJ is a victim largely of his own making. His choices are risky and naive while Stacy does what it takes to make his family survive and proud.
TJ is a foolish and naive boy, and he hangs around the wrong people, also he has a tendency not to follow the rules. Stacey on the other hand thinks everything through before taking action and follows orders. Unlike TJ, Stacey has good interests. TJ's foolishness and mistakes lead him into lots of trouble and no good comes out of it. Stacey on the other hand, is rational and does not always lead himself into problems. Making good choices has left Stacey far better of than TJ.