Minor characters

Kevin, the leader of Paddy’s gang

Kevin is Paddy’s neighbour and the leader of the gang. He is a powerful character who needs to control and dominate the other boys.

He is often the "ref", the “judge” or the "high priest" and the boys seem to allow this without argument.

Kevin has an older brother and perhaps this allows him to have more daring and interesting ideas about things he has learnt from him.

He is introduced in the second line of the novel. Our first impression is that he is a trouble-maker because he has stopped at a neighbour’s gate and “bashed it with his stick”.

Kevin is clever at school - always getting “ten out of ten, in everything” - but uses this intelligence to manipulate others.

He has the ideas for how the boys should cause trouble, but is careful to leave himself clear of blame.

Kevin can also be cruel in his jibes and in inflicting pain on the other boys. When Paddy sings a song his father has taught him Kevin simply dismisses him, saying "That’s stupid”.

When hiding in the building pipes Kevin "prunes" Paddy (kicks him in the testicles). This painful prank comes just after they have shared a joke.

By the end of the novel Kevin has not changed. He continues to show his cruel streak after he and Paddy have fallen out, "I’m going to get you Clarke … D’you hear me?"

Liam and Aidan O’Connell, members of Paddy’s gang

Liam and Aidan are members of Paddy’s gang. They are mentioned in the opening few paragraphs of the novel and they seem notable to Paddy because their mother is dead.

Paddy feels superior to them. But he notices that as Liam grows up he "became dangerous".

Perhaps Doyle uses these characters to show the often inevitable effects on children who are left to their own devices and neglected at home.

When Liam is in Paddy’s class at school, he soils his trousers. Mr Hennessey seems to be particularly considerate over this and the other boys feel he is being treated favourably.

Paddy reports, "Liam and Aidan sometimes didn’t go to school. Their da let them stay at home sometimes if they were good.”

This family is often juxtaposed with Paddy’s own family, emphasising the fact that Paddy and Sinbad have a close-knit and supportive home.