"Young Lonigan," the first novel in James T. Farrell's "Studs Lonigan" trilogy begins with the fourteen year old Studs getting ready to graduate from elementary school. Before him is the prospect of summer vacation and then Catholic high school in the fall. Like a typical teenager, Studs is rebellious and preoccupied with girls and his rowdy friends.
Although not particularly poor, the Lonigan family lives in an Irish ghetto and Studs and his friends are typical street toughs. They measure a boy's value by his ability to fight. When Studs bests Weary Reilly, the neighborhood bully, in a street fight, he becomes the cock of the walk. He begins to hang around with a tougher crowd and with older teens. He gets involved with beating other kids, minor theft, and sexual experimentation. When the summer ends he has changed into a full fledged street tough.
This report prepared by Jack Goodstein