The Other Side of Sports, Literature and: Competition and/or Friendship in Piri Thomas’s Amigo Brothers.

Hasabelnaby, Magda 


This paper is an interdisciplinary study which draws upon sports and literature to examine the relationship between competition and friendship. By examining "Amigo Brothers", a short story for young adults by the Nuyorican writer Piri Thomas (192g-2011), the paper aims at exploring the different ways friendship is positively or negatively affected in sports within the post-colonial setting of 20th century Spanish Harlem. In this story, published in Thomas's collection Stories from El Barrio 1978, the two friends Felix and Antonio abandon the boxing fight they have longed for in order to keep their friendship unbroken. Through a close reading of the story, the paper attempts an analysis of the psychological burden of friends/opponents in professional sports, a burden which becomes much heavier in the case of fighting a challenger who belongs to your own “turf”, to use Thomas's word for community. The methodology of this research depends mainly on a textual analysis which moves from the smallest details in the story to larger issues and vice versa. Concurrently, insights from social criticism, particularly gender criticism are applied for highlighting certain elements of the text. Concepts from Post-colonial criticism are also found useful: Franz Fanon’s “overdetermination", Jan Mohamed's "Manichean Allegory", and Ngugi Wa Thiongo's ideas on language and culture are drawn upon to support the analysis. Readings in sport psychology, as well as a personal experience as a mother of a professional athlete are also used for a better understanding of the conflict in the story. Finally, the Post-colonial context in which the events take place is taken into consideration: Piri Thomas investigates the problematic of competition and friendship within the specific community of "Loisaida", "the Lower East Side" of Spanish Harlem.

Other data

Issue Date 2012
Journal English Language and Literature Studies, Vol. IX, 1&2 

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