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Al Capone Does My Shirts

“Al Capone Does My Shirts” is a story about a family striving to be normal. In the course of the story, the pressure or the desire to be normal is constantly portrayed. It depicts a mother, who struggles in harmonizing the way she views her two children and maintaining a normal family life. It shows the difficulty of a child with special needs in living a normal life. It shows how a child is taken out from a normal life and how he struggles to fit in.

The current situation of the Flanagan family already depicts abnormality in their life. The story is abnormally located in the island of Alcatraz. Instead of living in a neighborhood with normal children, they are put in an island with incarcerated criminals, symbolic of their separation from normal society. Normalcy is further given significance in the character of Natalie. As a child with special needs, her condition cannot be diagnosed and treatment has not been successful. Although initially rejected admittance to the Esther P.

Marinoff School, the story shows the importance of being accepted to the school because it is their family’s chance in living a normal life. At the same time, Moose struggles with his own life. He left a normal 12 year old life in Santa Monica, and he struggles with his responsibilities to his family as he tries to fit in, be accepted and find friends on the island and in school. Mrs. Flanagan, likewise seems to struggle with striving to be normal, as she insistently celebrates the 10th birthday of Natalie, while constantly keeping in mind the best interest of her children.

All of these events show that they seem to be concerned in living normally, and that the lack of normalcy has caused them some troubles. These are the hardships that are experienced by a family that is far from being normal. As the story juxtaposes the Flanagan’s life and the normal life, it can be understood that there is a constant need to be normal, meaning, everybody wants and needs to fit in. These events convey to the reader that life with out normalcy can be a struggle.

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