Willard Motley: Knock on Any Door

(558 words)

Knock on Any Door (1947) is the best-known novel of Willard Motley, an African American novelist noted for portraying a variety of ethnic protagonists. Nick Romano is the son of Italian immigrants who lose their small business in Denver during the depression of the 1930s. Sent to reform school for stealing a bicycle, a crime which he did not commit, Nick changes from an innocent former altar boy to a budding criminal. Upon his release, the family moves to Chicago to separate Nick from his dishonest companions, but Chicago is a worse hotbed of crime than Denver, and Nick falls in with a rough crowd of boys and is soon sent to a second reformatory, where he learns from older inmates how to commit crimes such as strong-arm …

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Citation:
Fleming, Robert E.. "Knock on Any Door". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 March 2001
[http://litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=4210, accessed 30 October 2014.]