Long Way Down Introduction + Context. It was lucrative for a few months until a young kid killed him. He confesses that he’s scared, and wants Shawn to tell him if he’s doing the right thing. However, he was Will’s favorite and only brother. When the doors are almost closed, fingers stop them and they open again to reveal Shawn, wearing the blood-soaked clothes he died in. The main themes in A Long Way Down is suicide, depression and that there is always hope. Will describes his bedroom he shared with Shawn. Buck says that one day, he was with Shawn at the basketball court. It never does anything good, and it’s what killed Shawn. Martin is a famous talk show host just out of jail, Maureen is a lonely single mother, Jess is young, reckless and heartbroken, and JJ is an American realizing the failures in his life. This worries Pop, and he asks Will if Will has ever heard his story. On New Year's Eve in London, four strangers find themselves on the roof of a building known for suicides. He died fetching special soap for their mother’s eczema. Uncle Mark offers Pop a cigarette, and when Buck lights it, the elevator stops. Will insists that Pop just did what he was supposed to do, but Pop says that’s not true: he killed the wrong guy, even though he believed he had the right man. Summaries. First part: The story starts of with four different individuals intending to commit suicide on New Year’s eve on Topper’s Tower. Will stands in the elevator, wet, tear-stained, and afraid. When it happens, Will and his friend Tony are outside, wondering if they’ll grow taller now that they’re 15. Back in their eighth-floor apartment, Will’s mother sobs while Will hides in his room. Shawn turns around and asks Will if he’s coming. Buck, however, approaches the stranger and shows the man the back of his T-shirt. Will wonders if Buck has come to “steal his breath,” but Buck says he came to check on his gun. Through mutual pain and humour, this unlikely group take the long way down and figure out what will keep them alive until Valentine's Day, one step at a time. Uncle Mark asks Will what happens after he shoots, but Will insists that’s the end. Will is getting impatient and thinks the elevator feels like a coffin. Will says that no matter what he doesn’t or doesn’t have in common with the reader, it’s still horribly painful to see a loved one’s blood outside of their body. Will is shocked, especially when Buck asks if Shawn never shared this story. The cigarette smoke seems to box Will in, and he figures that whoever’s waiting to get on won’t get into this crowded, smoky elevator. Detailed Summary & Analysis Prologue Seven Six Five Four Three Two Themes All Themes Loyalty and Revenge Grief, Fear, and Cycles of Violence Perspective and Reality Masculinity and Coming of Age Quotes. She opens her purse and shows Will a photo of himself and his friend Dani when they were eight years old, on the day Dani died. He also wonders if he’s disappointing Pop right now. Will hugs Shawn, but Shawn just stands there awkwardly. Will plans to seek revenge, but before he can leave the elevator of his building, he is greeted by a series of ghosts who confuse and complicate his perspective on Shawn’s death and the idea of revenge killing. Will explains how to become a Dark Sun: one must acquire a cigarette burn under the right eye, live nine blocks from Will’s building, and perform a “Dark Deed,” which can be robbing, beating, or killing someone. Four people meet on New Year's Eve, and form a surrogate family to help one another with the difficulties of their lives. The next morning, Shawn taught him the first Rule (no crying). Synopsis The man is Buck, and he’s supposed to be dead. Turning to Will, Buck asks how he knows Riggs killed Shawn. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. Pop died when Will was three, so Will doesn’t remember anything about him. He asks the reader to call him Will, like everyone else does. | They were playing on the playground when someone started firing gunshots around them, and Will watched Dani get shot and bleed to death while Shawn tried to shield them from the bullets. It looks like we don't have a Synopsis for this title yet. A Long Way Down: Characters; Summary ; Symbols; Image patterns; Figure of Speech; Themes; Irony ; Conflicts ; Time, Setting and Perspective ; Author ; Main Characters ( left to right ) J.J He is an American who came to London with his girlfriend Lizzy. Be the first to contribute! However as the band broke up, his girlfriend dumped him immediately. Plot Keywords He let Will start using his cologne when Will turned 13. Struggling with distance learning? Buck was Shawn’s mentor after Pop, the boys’ father, died. Long Way Down (2017) by Jason Reynolds is a young adult novel in free verse about Will Holloman, a young black boy struggling to make a decision after his brother Shawn is shot dead in the street. It feels about as heavy as an infant, and Will knows that with it, he can follow Rule No. Nobody is there when the elevator doors open. The doors open and all the ghosts step out after the smoke. However, big hands reach into the elevator and grab Will’s neck. Though Will wants to tell Pop everything, he doesn’t—he doesn’t want to look weak in front of the other ghosts. He pulls down his shirt to reveal a bloody bullet hole, and Buck explains that Shawn found out who Frick was from Tony, who spends his days at the basketball court talking about everything to make himself seem cool. When the police arrive, a young officer seems to legitimately expect answers, but Will insists that when someone dies in his neighborhood, everyone pretends to be deaf and blind. Will is disturbed—the girl can see Buck’s ghost and somehow knows Will has a gun. Teachers and parents! Taglines Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. His plan is to go early to Riggs’s apartment so he can “do it.” He creeps past his mother and out of the apartment, calls the elevator, and presses the L button. On the sixth floor, a beautiful young woman gets in. Martin is a famous talk show host just out of jail, Maureen is a lonely single mother, Jess is young, reckless and heartbroken, and JJ is an American realizing the failures in his life. The elevator stops again. Will asks what any of this has to do with Shawn, and Frick replies that Shawn followed the Rules. Shawn’s girlfriend, Leticia, kisses him and shrieks, while Will and Shawn’s mother moans. Will announces that he found it anyway, and that he needs it to avenge Shawn’s death and follow the Rules, just like Buck would’ve done. Only his mother calls him William, and his brother Shawn used to too, when he was trying to be funny—but last night, Shawn was killed. Will tells Shawn everything and says he’s trying to follow the Rules and kill Riggs. He lights his own cigarette and the elevator stops. He sees that the hands belong to the ghost of Uncle Mark, whom Will recognizes from the many photos of Mark around his house. Shawn starts to cry. She’s around the same age as Will. They embrace happily, and Buck introduces the man as Frick, his killer. When she asks what happens if he misses, Will insists he won’t. Frick pipes up and says that he was supposed to rob Buck as his Dark Deed, but when he approached Buck, Buck just laughed. Their depression is merely a plot device. When Will tried to follow it, he wanted to punch something. Through mutual pain and humour, this unlikely group take the long way down and figure out what will keep them alive until Valentine's Day, one step at a time. The original text plus a side-by-side modern translation of. LitCharts Teacher Editions. From the creators of SparkNotes, something better. Pop steps forward and pulls Will into a hug again. Buck explains that as they talked, he tried to show Shawn a gold chain he’d just stolen from a suburban kid. Shawn’s half is neat, while Will’s is messy. Buck lights a cigarette and the elevator stops. “A Long Way Down” is a film that’s afraid of its subject matter: suicidal depression. Buck says Will doesn’t have it in him, and asks if he checked that the gun is loaded. With a chuckle, Uncle Mark lights a cigarette and says that’s never the end. Four people meet on New Year's Eve, and form a surrogate family to help one another with the difficulties of their lives. Will tries to check her out, but the gun digs into his back and makes him wince. Will tucks the gun into the back of his waistband. The only thing amiss on Shawn’s side is the middle drawer of his dresser, which contains his gun. Trying to play it cool, Will says he’s not going to talk to a stranger about this, but the girl says she’s not a stranger: she’s known Will for a long time. He is pale with light brown hair, a big guy. The other two Rules are no snitching, and always seek revenge—this means that if a loved one is killed, you must kill their killer. A light-skinned stranger gets on and doesn’t acknowledge anyone, so Will thinks he must be alive and real. He is also the author of Songbook , a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award, Shakespeare Wrote for Money , and The Polysyllabic Spree , as well as the editor of the short-story collection Speaking with the Angel . The morning after Shawn’s death, Will digs into the middle drawer and fishes out the gun. Uncle Mark was an aspiring filmmaker in life and wanted to make a movie based off of Pop and Will’s mother’s love story.