The Last Lecture

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Jack Sheriff Character Analysis

Randy’s childhood friend who helps him paint his bedroom with wild images (and, on top of the “hope” in the Pandora’s box, he writes the word ‘Bob.’) Jack is Randy’s good friend throughout his life: he is the one driving the chase car during Randy’s post-wedding balloon ride, and he was also present on Randy’s last scuba diving trip before his death.

Jack Sheriff Quotes in The Last Lecture

The The Last Lecture quotes below are all either spoken by Jack Sheriff or refer to Jack Sheriff. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Dreams in Reality Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Hyperion edition of The Last Lecture published in 2008.
Chapter 5 Quotes

Jack and I painted a large silver elevator door… we painted a panel with floor numbers one through six. The number “three” was illuminated. We lived in a ranch house—it was just one level—so I was doing a bit of fantasizing to imagine six floors. But looking back, why didn’t I paint eighty or ninety floors? If I was such a big-shot dreamer, why did my elevator stop at three? I don’t know. Maybe it was a symbol of the balance in my life between aspiration and pragmatism.

Related Characters: Randy Pausch (speaker), Tammy, Jack Sheriff
Page Number: 29
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote occurs after Randy, halfway through high school, asks his parents if he can paint some images that he has imagined in his head (things “that matter” to him) on the walls of his room. His mom is skeptical but his dad gives permission, and after painting many images, Randy decides he wants to paint an elevator on the wall of his ranch house. But, Randy notes, he decided it would only be a six-floor elevator. While Randy does not understand why that was his desire at the time, he thinks (in retrospect) that choosing an elevator with only six floors epitomizes his balance between dreams and reality. Randy allows himself to dream big dreams, but he always makes them specific enough that he can imagine the concrete steps he can take to achieve them.


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Jack Sheriff Character Timeline in The Last Lecture

The timeline below shows where the character Jack Sheriff appears in The Last Lecture. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5: The Elevator in the Ranch House
Dreams in Reality Theme Icon
Attitude and Positive Behavior Theme Icon
...relented in the face of Randy’s excitement. For two days, Randy, Tammy, and his friend Jack Sheriff painted the walls of Randy’s bedroom. His father sat in the living room, reading a... (full context)
Dreams in Reality Theme Icon
What did they paint? A quadratic equation (celebrating Randy’s inner nerd), chess pieces, Jack Sheriff wrote the words “I’m trapped in the attic!” backwards on the ceiling so it looked... (full context)
Chapter 17: Not All Fairy Tales End Smoothly
Attitude and Positive Behavior Theme Icon
...They crash land in the field, and luckily they miss the oncoming train. Randy’s friend Jack Sheriff arrives in the chase-car, happy to see them both safe. The Ballooner runs over just... (full context)
Chapter 56: Make a Decision: Tigger or Eeyore
Obstacles as Opportunities Theme Icon
Attitude and Positive Behavior Theme Icon
...on a short scuba-diving vacation with three of his best friends: his high school friend Jack Sheriff , his college roommate Scott Sherman, and Steve Seabolt, who Randy met at Electronic Arts.... (full context)