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"Down These Mean Streets"

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In his book Down These Mean Streets, Piri Thomas has managed to write his life experiences from different perspectives. In this autobiography, he describes his passage to maturity in Spanish Harlem. During his early life, Piri Thomas faced myriad challenges ranging from poverty to racism. He also suffered from drug addiction, which probably influenced his behavior. Owing to the life experiences of Piri Thomas, some individuals may regard him as a leader. In my view, Piri Thomas was not a leader due to the following reasons.

While living in Harlem, Piri developed a violent behavior, and he also became hot tempered. His personality flaws greatly impacted on his social life. Piri did not demonstrate leadership whenever he encountered challenges, because he would get annoyed and solve his problems through violence. He acted in this manner in several instances, which can be discussed as follows.

First, during Piri’s early education, he never respected his teachers. For instance, he once hit a female teacher for denying him the chance to go to the bathroom. Therefore, his quick-temper indicates that he his poor at decision making, and he cannot solve his challenges peacefully (Thomas 144).

In another incident, Piri failed to solve his differences with his girlfriend. After attending a party, he had a verbal fight with his girlfriend. In this case, he got annoyed and punched a window. He sustained injuries on his fist, which led to his admission in hospital.

At the age of twenty two years, Piri became extremely aggressive to an extent that he started conducted robberies. In one robbery incident, he conspired with two individuals to raid a night club. During the robbery, Piri was shot by a police officer. Instead of surrendering, he shot back at the police, and this earned him a long jail term. He was incarcerated for fifteen years.


Piri’s violence can be regarded as a personality flaw.  Nonetheless, he failed in leadership because his personality weaknesses affected other individuals around him, including his family members. His quick-temper jeopardized his life, and he could not achieve his goals. Therefore, Piri Thomas was not a leader.

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