Moose Flanagan from "Al Capone Does My Shirts"

by jhoertel
Last updated 4 years ago

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Moose Flanagan from "Al Capone Does My Shirts"


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Age: 12 yrs old, in 7th GradeReal Name: Matthew- given the nickname "Moose" by his sister Natalie & it stuck because of his size.Connection to Alcatraz: His family moved here so his father could work and to be closer to a special school for his sister.


One of Moose’s strengths is that he is very caring. He wants his parents to be happy, he is always willing to help out, and he is very gentle and kind with Natalie. Caring sometimes gets him into trouble because he wants to help. For example, he carries the laundry bags for Piper and winds up getting blamed for the scheme.

Matthew "Moose" Flanagan

"Today I moved to a twelve-acre rock covered with cement, topped with bird turd and surrounded by water. I'm not the only kid who lives here. There's my sister, Natalie, except she doesn't count. And there are twenty-three other kids who live on the island because their dads work as guards or cook's or doctors or electricians for the prison, like my dad does. Plus, there are a ton of murderers, rapists, hit men, con men, stickup men, embezzlers, connivers, burglars, kidnappers and maybe even an innocent man or two, though I doubt it. The convicts we have are the kind other prisons don't want. I never knew prisons could be picky, but I guess they can. You get to Alcatraz by being the worst of the worst. Unless you're me. I came here because my mother said I had to." - page 1This quote not only sets the scene for the setting and plot of the book, but in introduces us to Moose. We get to see his adolescent humor and a hint of what he thinks of this whole situation. We also get an view at the way the family works, with the mom taking the lead role and making choices in order to benefit Natalie, not caring what Moose or his father really think about it. We can also see that Moose really just goes along with everything in order to keep his mom from being upset.

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One of Moose's weaknesses is his jealousy over his sister Natalie. While she obviously needs attention, Moose has a hard time with his parents giving so much to her, while he is often looked over. Because he has to watch her, he often loses time with his friends, doing what he enjoys.


Moose loves to play baseball, even though there aren't many people on the island who are very good. He is excited when he meets Scout at school and finds that they plan a game once a week. He is also happy that Annie is able to throw well, since not even his father can really practice with him.


A problem Moose gets involved with is Piper's plan to charge the kids at school for having their clothes washed by the cons. He decides not to participate, but Piper pulls him in anyway, using his families bag and even having Moose help carry them to the dock. Becuase of this, Moose is called in with the others and yelled at by the Warden. Moose's father is very disappointed in him, saying that we each are responsible for our own choices and actions.

"'I have to be able to depend on you. Can I count on you or not?' my dad asks." - page 122This shows the pressure that Moose feels to be responsible, and why he struggles so much over upsetting his parents. Because he tries so hard to be good, they expect more from him. In many ways, he is much more mature than other kids his age.



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