My interpretation of tattoos on the heart. By Jack Svoboda

Preface and Introduction

The theme of these chapter is hope. These chapters showed how Homboy Industries and Father Greg were able to give the members of gangs hope. My favorite story is when Homboy Bakeries burns down. While it was a tragic accident, they recovered and rebuilt and bigger and better bakery. This relates to my life because sometimes things in like go wrong, but that doesn't meant we should give up. Rather, we should be like Homeboy Bakery, and do it again even better than last time.

God, I guess

I think the theme of this chapter is persistence. In this chapter, we see Father Greg persistently trying to help out homies, even if they turn down his offers. The story that relates to me the most if the story of Scarppy. Even though him and Father Greg had a rough past, Father Greg is still more than willing to help him. This relates to my life because sometimes I need to be more like Ftaher Greg. I often hold grudges for no reason, and this was a story I strive to follow.

Dis Grace

I think the main theme of this chapter is shame. Many gang members have a thick layer of self imposed shame surrounding, which prevents them from doing the right thing. The story I like the most in this chapter was the story of Sniper, or as we later find out Napito. In this story, Father Greg slowly pulls away all of the layers of shame surrounding a kid called sniper, eventually finding out his real name is Napoleons, and his mother calls him Napito. This story relates to my life because sometimes I feel so ashamed of myself I begin to forget who I really am. Sometimes you have to peel away your own layers of shame so you can find and express who you really are.


I think the main theme of this chapter is that we are all loved and good, no matter how bad we thing we are. Sometimes, we just need some compassion and attention to help us realize that. My favorite story was the story of Matteo. He goes on a trip with Greg to Montana, and on the way back he finally came to the realization that he was somebody. He came to this realization when he, Greg, and Julian we signaled out by the flight attendant as celebrities. In our current globalized society, sometimes the world seems so big and we feel so small that we forget we are somebody and that we matter. I think Matteo's story was a good reminder that we are, and always will be, someone.

A picture of Father Gregory

Water, Oil, and Flame

I think the main theme of this chapter is that overcoming our struggles. The common element across the stories in this chapter is the homies overcoming their hatred or fears. When Elias speaking to a crowd of people and Fabian acting up to save a former rival, we see homies overcoming their problems. This chapter showed me that if you work hard, your can overcome your weaknesses. The story that relates to me the most is the story with Elias. I am not the biggest fan of speaking in front of people, and Elias shares that attitude. It was inspirational for me to read about how Elias went from being scared to realizing that he had a crowd full of people clapping for him. This story relates to my life because I, like Elias, have a fear of speaking. Watching Elias overcoming that fear has reminded me that I can also overcome my fear

Slow Work

I think the title of this chapter, slow work, is also its main theme. Throughout the chapter we see Father Greg trying to help gang members, even if at first, they resist him. Because of Father Greg's persistence, eventually most of the homies crack and accept his help. My favorite story in this chapter was the story of Grumpy. He at first resisted Father Greg's offer to get his tattoos removed, but after getting out of jail he finally agreed to get them removed. I feel this story relates to me because sometimes I attempt to resist God's love at first, but God's love and help is irresistible and I always come back to him


The theme of this chapter is fellowship. Fellowship is the theme because in this chapter, we see stories of former enemies coming together and becoming friends. Artie and Danny, and their story, are a good example of how two bitter enemies came together and bonded over a simple joke. My favorite story in this chapter was that of Traveiso and Clever. They were both former enemies that ended up working at homeboy industries. At first their relationship was sour, but after Traveiso is shot, Clever calls Father Greg and tries to see if there is anything he can do to help. This story relates to my life because often I hold resentment against others and are slow to forgive. I will attempt to be more like Clever, willing to move on from the past and extend a helping hand, even to his enemies.


I think the theme of this chapter is joy. Almost all of the stories in this chapter are stories of gang member's accomplishments or their likes. The story I enjoyed the most in this chapter was that of Moreno. He is a guy who usually has a chill, I don't care attitude. In one car ride with Father Greg, Greg is finally able to get some emotion out of him by bringing up his favorite subject, Biology. Moreno is thrilled to tell Greg all about his Biology class and what they will be doing. Sometimes in my life, I feel like Moreno, only showing apathy. I like this story because sometimes I need someone like Father Greg to wake me up from my apathy and communicate with the world.


No one is truly a complete success or failure is what the theme of this chapter is. In this chapter, we read about the stories of Scrappy, Shady, Ronnie, and Manny. All four were homies who were on the right path, put whose lives tragically ended before they could reach their destination. My favorite story in this chapter is that of Scrappy. He was a gang member who had got off to a rough start in life, but he had joined Homeboy Industries and was a graffiti remover. Tragically, he was gunned down while on the job. This story relates to my life because sometimes I am like Scrappy, picking up the pieces and trying to head down the right path, only to have all my progress gunned down by my own jealously and greed.


I think the major theme of this chapter is hope. In this chapter, we hear about many of the hopeful stories of some of the gang members. From Richard finding pictures of himself to Lecpncho being proud of his new job, this chapter is full of stories of hope. My favorite story form this section was the story of Filipe, Charlie, and Alex. All three were former gang members whom were able to visit and eat at the White House. I think this story relates to my life because it shows that there is no limit to what we can accomplish. Sometimes I feel as if I will never bpamount up to anything and I will never make a difference. The story of three former gang members visiting the Whit pe House and attends dinner there was a story of hope for me, as it showed that anything is possible.

Father Gregory Boyle

By Jack Svoboda

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