The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963

The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963 Imagery

"As I looked at this new boy with the great big smile and the jacket with holes in the sleeves and the raggedy tennis shoes and the tore-up blue jeans I knew who he was."

When Kenny first sees Rufus, the first details he notices are Rufus's clothes. Clothes can indicate a lot about a person; Rufus's clothes are torn and tattered, suggesting that his family may not have the means to provide him with new clothing. These clothes give both Kenny and readers an idea of Rufus's background as soon as he enters the story.

"On every side of us were great big, black hills... it looked like someone had crumpled up a pitch-black blanket and dropped the Weird Watsons down into the middle of it."

Kenny is in awe of the Appalachian Mountains, which he sees on the trip to Birmingham, and his descriptions of the scenery and the blackness are vivid and complete. Readers can get a sense of the vastness of this landscape, which makes Kenny feel somewhat small, scared, and insignificant. At the same time, though, he feels a sense of freedom that he replicates once he returns to his house in Flint.

"I could see Bibles and coloring books thrown all over the place, then they'd get covered by the smoke."

Kenny gives an extremely detailed description of the scene of the church bombing when he arrives there. This is important, because readers need to understand precisely how horrible this event is, and how much this act of violence has destroyed. Through Kenny's words, readers can get a clear -- and disconcerting -- picture of the rubble of the church and the injured and crying people scattered on the lawn.