A Hope in the Unseen

by

Ron Suskind

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on A Hope in the Unseen can help.
Cedric is the protagonist of A Hope in the Unseen, and the story follows him from his childhood and adolescence in a poor, black neighborhood in Washington, D.C., through his first year at Brown University. He has grown up with his mother, Barbara Jennings, while his father, Cedric, Sr., spend most of his time in and out of prison for taking and dealing drugs. Young Cedric is an intelligent and ambitious young man, and is determined to get into an Ivy League college. This makes him a pariah at his high school, where only about half of the students will graduate at all, and very few of them will go on to college; he is ostracized and bullied for his dedication to academics and his general standoffishness. He is eventually accepted to Brown University, and when he arrives, he is overwhelmed by the new world he encounters, and the amount of knowledge that he has missed out on at his underserved high school. Growing up in poverty, he has had few opportunities to socialize with different classes, and almost no exposure to cultural events and references, making it just as difficult to fit in socially as it is to succeed academically at Brown. He struggles to keep up in his classes and to make friends in such a foreign atmosphere, but manages to find his place by the end of his first year. When he returns home over the summer, Cedric realizes that he no longer belongs there; he makes peace with his father, leaves the church that has long been a staple in his life but he has now outgrown, and begins to forge his own path. Cedric’s story is both intensely personal and representative of the struggles that poor, inner-city black students face when they work towards higher education and upward mobility. While Cedric is deeply motivated to propel himself out of poverty, he also learns to ask for help, and accept the support of individuals who believe in him, like his chemistry teacher Mr. Taylor and his patron, Dr. Korb.

Cedric Jennings Quotes in A Hope in the Unseen

The A Hope in the Unseen quotes below are all either spoken by Cedric Jennings or refer to Cedric Jennings. 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:
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Broadway Books edition of A Hope in the Unseen published in 1998.
Chapter 1 Quotes

I worked hard. Why should I be ashamed? Ashamed to claim credit for something I earned? I hate myself for not going.

Related Characters: Cedric Jennings (speaker), Mr. Clarence Taylor
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:

Educators have even coined a phrase for it. They call it the crab/bucket syndrome: when one crab tries to climb from the bucket, the others pull it back down. The forces dragging students toward failure—especially those who have crawled farthest up the side—flow through every corner of the school. Inside the bucket, there is little chance for escape.

Related Characters: Cedric Jennings
Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

“How can I compete? It’s like I’m living in a refrigerator!”

Related Characters: Cedric Jennings (speaker), Cedric’s Mother / Barbara Jennings
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

“Hebrews 11:1. ‘The substance of faith is a hope in the unseen.’”

Related Characters: Mr. Clarence Taylor (speaker), Cedric Jennings
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:

“You’re low, you’re tired, you’re fighting, you’re waiting for your vision to become reality—you feel you can’t wait anymore! […] Say ‘I’ll be fine tonight ‘cause Jesus is with me.’ SAY IT! SAY IT!”

Related Characters: Bishop Long (speaker), Cedric Jennings
Related Symbols: The SAT
Page Number: 75-76
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

“You sure talk funny, southern, sort of, and you know, slangy.”

“For reeeal? What, like I’m slurring my words or something? […] You mean, I guess, that I talk sort of ‘ghetto.’”

Related Characters: Cedric Jennings (speaker)
Page Number: 81
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

I hope you are as pleased to get this letter as I am to send it to you. You have been admitted to the 232nd class to enter The College of Brown University.

Related Characters: Cedric Jennings
Related Symbols: The SAT
Page Number: 111
Explanation and Analysis:

“I said to myself, ‘THERE IS NOTHING ME AND MY GOD CAN’T HANDLE.’”

Related Characters: Cedric Jennings (speaker)
Page Number: 137
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

The problem stems from a conundrum he’s thought through a thousand times. Worldly success—the kind of genuine, respect-in-the-community, house-in-the-suburbs achievement that he finds among his neighbors in Mitchelville—has never fit well inside the doors of Scripture. And going to college is a first step on that path away from here.

Related Characters: Bishop Long (speaker), Cedric Jennings
Page Number: 151
Explanation and Analysis:

“Come on now, I know Ballou. Some guys in the joint came from Ballou, and I have a cousin who’s a teacher there. Ballou’s no place for students.”

Related Characters: Cedric Jennings
Page Number: 158
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

“I just feel I need to figure out where I stand. I don’t want to get in over my head […] Well, I didn’t come from that good a school and all, a really bad city school.”

Related Characters: Cedric Jennings (speaker)
Page Number: 173
Explanation and Analysis:

“Your identity, I think, should be something that you are proud of. I wouldn’t be proud to say that I had only one leg and I could just barely walk, you know, on one leg. That may be true, but I wouldn’t let it define who I was.”

Related Characters: Cedric Jennings (speaker)
Page Number: 177
Explanation and Analysis:

Cedric, ushered here mostly by adrenaline and faith, realizes he’s now facing a living, breathing, credentialed counterpart to his revered Bishop. Nothing theoretical about it. Around here, nothing is exempt from dissembling questions and critical examination—not even religion itself. He can see Bishop’s one eye, looking through him, and hear the words, “The only true answers lie with God.”

Related Characters: Cedric Jennings, Bishop Long
Page Number: 186
Explanation and Analysis:

He reminisces for a while and throws out a few light aphorisms before turning bleak and discussing Bosnia and balkanism, victims of wars, and conflicts around the globe. “Unless one wants to lie,” he says […] “I am rarely truly hopeful.”

Related Characters: Cedric Jennings
Page Number: 187
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

By now, he understands that Maura knows what to write on her pad and the sleepers will be able to skim the required readings, all of them guided by some mysterious encoded knowledge of history, economics, and education, of culture and social events, that they picked up in school or at home or God knows where.

Related Characters: Cedric Jennings
Page Number: 190
Explanation and Analysis:

“Are we doing a services to young people to boost them above their academic level and then not offer the services they need? Because, who really can? Who can offer that sort of enrichment? You can hardly blame the university. It would take years, and money, and a whole different educational track to bring some affirmative action students to a level where they could compete.”

Related Characters: Cedric Jennings
Page Number: 192
Explanation and Analysis:

“I am constantly having to play catch-up with guys who’ve spent the past five years speaking three languages, visiting Europe, and reading all the right books. Here, at Brown, they say ‘Don’t worry, you’re all equal, starting on the same footing. Ready, set, go!’ They just don’t get it. Where I come from, people don’t go to France to study. A trip to France is a big deal. I haven’t been reading all the right books since I was twelve and then have some Rhodes Scholar Daddy tell me the rest. I didn’t have that kind of access, access that could empower me.”

Related Characters: Stephan Wheelock (speaker), Cedric Jennings
Page Number: 193
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

It’s exciting to work with a kid who is so devoid of irony, so unguarded. And also terrifying. While it’s not going to be easy to get him where he needs to be academically, Cedric simply can’t afford to fail. He’s got everything—God, mother, faith—riding on making it. The thought makes her short of breath.

Related Characters: Helaine Schupack (speaker), Cedric Jennings, Donald Korb
Page Number: 242
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

“You don’t understand anything, LaTisha. He’s saying you take care of yourself. All right?”

“It don’t matter how you look, Cedric—it’s what’s inside, the spirit in you. That’s what matters, that’s what matters!”

“Listen to me! He’s saying you don’t let yourself go! All right?! You make yourself look as good as you can! You hear me? What I’m telling you—you just don’t let yourself go!”

Related Characters: Cedric Jennings (speaker), LaTisha Williams (speaker)
Page Number: 271
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

“You know […] I can tell the ones that will die when they leave here, when they leave this school. I can see them. You look at them hard enough, long enough, and you can tell. You really can.”

Related Characters: Mr. Fleming (speaker), Cedric Jennings
Page Number: 283
Explanation and Analysis:

“If you’re going to make it here, Cedric, you’ll have to find some distance from yourself and all you’ve been through. The key, I think, is to put your outrage in a place where you can get at it when you need to, but not have it bubble up so much, especially when you’re asked to embrace new ideas or explain what you observe to people who share none of your experiences.”

Related Characters: Larry Wakefield (speaker), Cedric Jennings
Page Number: 303
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13 Quotes

“Like, no one in the unit knows anything about Keith Sweat. It’s kind of nice, you know. You have to be real. You have to have grown up with it like us, to really know it.”

Related Characters: Chiniqua Milligan (speaker), Cedric Jennings
Page Number: 315
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Quotes

“I still believe in God, that Jesus is my personal savior, and my friend, and my guide, but I just don’t feel as tied to the church so much anymore. I like coming and all, but, at the same time, I feel like I’m ready to venture out.”

Related Characters: Cedric Jennings (speaker), Bishop Long
Page Number: 358
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire A Hope in the Unseen LitChart as a printable PDF.
A Hope in the Unseen PDF

Cedric Jennings Character Timeline in A Hope in the Unseen

The timeline below shows where the character Cedric Jennings appears in A Hope in the Unseen. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Something to Push Against
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
...High academic achievers are at the very bottom rung of the social ladder, like junior Cedric Jennings, one of the students who has achieved a straight A average. When the principal... (full context)
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
As Cedric studies his vocabulary words, his chemistry teacher, Mr. Taylor, comes in and informs him that... (full context)
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
Mr. Taylor has been helping Cedric with his application—in fact, he has been deeply invested in Cedric’s academic achievement since they... (full context)
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
Cedric is also enrolled in Ballou’s advanced math and science program, which is more challenging than... (full context)
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Cedric enters the apartment he shares with his mother, Barbara—it’s small, and there isn’t always heat,... (full context)
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
Cedric expresses his fear that he will not be accepted to the MIT summer program, and... (full context)
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
While Cedric sits in his Advanced Physics class, a Code Blue is announced on the speakers, meaning... (full context)
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
While Cedric has every reason to be proud of his accomplishments, like his 4.02 grade point average,... (full context)
Anger Theme Icon
As he walks to the cafeteria, Cedric passes by classmates who call him names, like “the amazing nerdboy.” A popular boy named... (full context)
Anger Theme Icon
At the end of the school day, Cedric and LaTisha leave together to walk to the bus stop. It is 3:30 P.M., earlier... (full context)
Chapter 2: Don’t Let Them Hurt Your Children
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
...is supposed to give to the church tonight—on one hand, this means that she and Cedric will have to survive the week on just $10, but on the other hand, the... (full context)
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
...her twenties, she was an unwed mother of two, when she met and began dating Cedric Gilliam. He had been in prison for bank robbery, but also had a college degree... (full context)
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
It wasn’t long after having Cedric that Barbara found the church. A friend dragged the depressed young mother to a service,... (full context)
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
When Cedric was a baby, Barbara decided to quit her job and go on welfare, so that... (full context)
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
When Cedric was eight years old, Barbara got a call from Cedric Gilliam, asking to meet his... (full context)
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
Barbara and Cedric followed a path that was common among African Americans in the inner city during the... (full context)
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
...that Barbara often did not have enough money to pay the bills, and she and Cedric had to go without heat, which made it nearly impossible for Cedric to study. Meanwhile,... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
Around the same time, Cedric had an opportunity to go and visit his father, Cedric Gilliam, in prison. Cedric Gilliam... (full context)
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
...long day of work, traveling to hand in her rent check, and church. She reminds Cedric that finances are tight this week, and that he should eat as much as possible... (full context)
Chapter 3: Rise and Shine
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
It is March, and Cedric is up and out of the house early. His mother is worried about him, but... (full context)
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
In his history class, Cedric and one other boy are the only ones present that day among the twenty students... (full context)
Anger Theme Icon
In his chemistry class, Cedric talks with his friends LaTisha and Tanya about plans for the future, and the girls... (full context)
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
Mr. Taylor believes in Cedric and supports his ambitions, and recognizes that the young man has a lot to prove... (full context)
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Cedric Gilliam gets ready to take the bus from his home inside Lorton Correctional Facility to... (full context)
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
When Cedric, Sr., wakes the next morning, however, one of the guards informs him that he will... (full context)
Anger Theme Icon
Cedric, Sr., then begins to think about a phone call he had with his son Cedric... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
Teachers at Ballou High School have pegged Cedric’s classmate Phillip Atkins as a future Richard Pryor—a popular black comedian from the 1970s and... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
...began smoking marijuana regularly. When Phillip gets home on the day of his scuffle with Cedric, he overhears his father talking to a friend about the dangers of individual ambition. Their... (full context)
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
 Barbara is at Scripture Cathedral on Thursday night, as usual, but she doesn’t see Cedric. He slips in the back of the church just after the service starts, not bothering... (full context)
Chapter 4: Skin Deep
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Cedric arrives at MIT, and he is surrounded by 52 minority math and science students like... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
After the initial testing period, Cedric finds himself placed in basic-level courses, with the exception of calculus, and even so, he... (full context)
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Once he is more comfortable with the other kids in the program, Cedric decides to ask them about their SAT scores, and finds that their scores are much... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
Bill Ramsey, who runs the MITES program, is preparing to meet with Cedric—there has been a complaint from a female student that Cedric has been making inappropriate advances... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
It is Cedric’s birthday, and his MITES classmates surprise him with a paper bag filled with small, inexpensive... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
...individually to discuss their odds of getting into MIT as undergraduate students. When Trilling asks Cedric if he plans to apply, Cedric responds enthusiastically that he has dreamed about it for... (full context)
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
Back at home in Washington, D.C., Cedric feels restless. He has received offers from some private prep schools, where he could go... (full context)
Chapter 5: To Him Who Endureth
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
One morning, Cedric wakes with a plan: he puts on a pair of baggy black pants, a white... (full context)
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
In his college prep class that afternoon, Cedric notices that has classmates are surprisingly silent, even the ones he considers tough. He realizes... (full context)
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
When Cedric retakes the SAT, his score rises a bit, to 960, but that is still well... (full context)
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
Barbara thinks about the day that Cedric bounded out of his room to tell her that he had finished his essay for... (full context)
Anger Theme Icon
In the weeks after Cedric receives his acceptance letter, Barbara wonders how she will help him navigate this new world.... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
In this atmosphere of excitement and insecurity, Cedric is invited to the Supreme Court to meet Chief Justice Clarence Thomas. Justice Thomas meets... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Cedric and Justice Thomas spend hours talking, comparing their struggles to get ahead as poor, black... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
At Ballou’s Awards Ceremony in May, Cedric receives recognition for the many scholarships he has earned to help him pay for Brown.... (full context)
Anger Theme Icon
Cedric is preparing his graduation speech, and has already gone through a number of revisions with... (full context)
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
On the day of graduation, Cedric delivers a speech that stuns the crowd. He talks about the “Dreambusters,” who laughed at... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Pretender
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
Cedric sorts keys at his internship at the Price Waterhouse Accounting office, thinking about his life... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
As he leaves the office for the day, Cedric passes by the black receptionist, whom he considers “ghetto” like him, despite the fact that... (full context)
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
Cedric Gilliam has gotten out on parole, and is making an attempt to connect with his... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
In the course of one of their conversations, Cedric mentions that he is a man, now that he is 18 years old, but Barbara... (full context)
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
Their conversation moves on to some young women that Barbara and Cedric know from church, who they acknowledge are very beautiful. Barbara warns Cedric about making a... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Cedric responds that he will never fall in love, that he wants to be alone and... (full context)
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
...leaving the men nominally in charge of the church itself. As he preaches, he sees Cedric in the congregation and thinks about how difficult it is to talk to students going... (full context)
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
...the foot of the stage to be personally blessed by Bishop Long. He notices that Cedric has not moved from his seat, and intensifies his call until the young man comes... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
...for the upcoming Million Man March, a national protest march focused on African American rights. Cedric, Sr., is enjoying one of his last days of freedom, as he has failed his... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
After leaving the party, Cedric wanders the streets of D.C. for a while, until he comes to a house where... (full context)
Chapter 7: Goodbye to Yesterday
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
It is moving day, and Cedric is looking for a few important items as he leaves his room—he has lost his... (full context)
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
As Cedric and Barbara drive out of D.C. towards New England, they begin to talk about school... (full context)
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
After the long drive, Barbara and Cedric get a late start to the day, and it is nearly lunchtime when they get... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
With Barbara gone, Cedric sits on his freshly made bed and begins to talk to Rob, his new roommate.... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
...carefully planned activities designed to help them get to know each other and the campus. Cedric begins to read the orientation packet, and focuses on the racial diversity of the 5,559-person... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
...themselves as Brown students. But one evening, when students begin to discuss their SAT scores, Cedric begins to worry. One student announces that he scored at 1200, which must be the... (full context)
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
After this conversation about SAT scores, and the handful of references that Cedric does not understand, he gets up early to re-think the courses he will take this... (full context)
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
The last issue Cedric discusses with his advisor is his plan to take all of his courses pass/fail, explaining... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
...de Mayo, which will lead them to lean on their preconceived ideas about their classmates. Cedric is overwhelmed by other students in his unit asking him who Rosa Parks is, and... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
...requires students to write down their identity in one word on a piece of paper. Cedric thinks about his conversation with Clarence Thomas, who advised him not to think of himself... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
...use a limitation (like a handicap) to define oneself, and this strikes a chord within Cedric. He speaks up, arguing that identity should be linked to something that a person is... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
...he belongs. He begins to write a letter to his parents, and when he mentions Cedric, he begins to think about his roommate, and how this will be a broadening experience... (full context)
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Cedric comes into the boys’ dorm room, and he and Rob discuss the fact that Cedric... (full context)
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Cedric finally manages to get his permanent Brown ID card and goes off to have a... (full context)
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
Later that day, Cedric goes to the Brown bookstore to pick up his books. As he wanders the aisles,... (full context)
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Cedric lands on an education textbook, and likes the practical aspect of the course, so he... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
...and Holocaust survivor, whose message is bereft of hope and faith, and fails to inspire Cedric. After convocation, the students attend their classes for the first time, receive their syllabi, and... (full context)
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
At dinner, Cedric mentions how disgusted he is that some students shower without shoes on, which he considers... (full context)
Chapter 8: Fierce Intimacies
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Cedric is listening carefully in his History of Education course, held at 8:30 A.M. in a... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
When his classes are finished for the day, Cedric decides to treat himself to lunch with the money left over from his monthly support... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
Once students like Cedric arrive on the Brown campus, they are left to their own devices. While there are... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
When Cedric leaves the restaurant, he passes his Richard Wright professor, Stephan Wheelock, who is engaged in... (full context)
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
Cedric is still trying to work out some ground rules with his roommate Rob, regarding control... (full context)
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
Back at Ballou, Cedric had built a wall in order to resist the lure of drinking, drugs, and sex.... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
One evening, Cedric decides to be social, wandering into the dorm room of John Frank and Zayd Dohrn,... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
After a short meeting about a group project for their Richard Wright class, Cedric walks back to his dorm with Chiniqua, the other African American student in his unit.... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Cedric and Chiniqua discuss the recent trial of O.J. Simpson, a famous African American athlete who... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Like Cedric, there is more to Chiniqua than meets the eye. But unlike him, she has grown... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Cedric has been spending more time with Zayd, and this evening the two are chatting about... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
Cedric knows that racial differences underlie his relationships with everyone in his unit. He is both... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
Cedric Gilliam is finally ready to turn himself in for parole violation. For the first few... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
Cedric Gilliam alternates between feeling good about being responsible and hating the lack of freedom in... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Cedric is in the dining hall, looking at the calculus midterm that he aced, and feels... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
...a slightly homoerotic turn. They begin to offer to fill each others’ gas tanks, and Cedric is the only one who doesn’t laugh at the idea, which makes them push a... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Zayd is the only person brave enough to continue to try to penetrate Cedric’s armor. He notes that other kids wonder why he and Cedric are friends, but he... (full context)
Chapter 9: Bill Payers on Parade
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
...up to Providence as well, and has been waiting for this weekend for months. After Cedric left home, she seemed to lose her sense of focus, and began missing work and... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Barbara scolds Cedric for not having his hair cut for her arrival, but he tells her that he... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Cedric, Barbara, and Neddy spend the day outside of the Brown campus, at a local mall... (full context)
Chapter 10: A Bursting Heart
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
Helaine Schupack has been waiting for Cedric Jennings for almost 20 minutes when he shows up at her office for their first... (full context)
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
In his education essay, Cedric writes about his family and how important his academic success has been to his mother,... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
The conflict between Rob and Cedric continues, as they each attempt to stand their ground regarding music and television use in... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Cedric and Zayn go to the mall outside of town, and on their way there, they... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Zayd and Cedric come to the conclusion that there are bad people of every race, and Cedric mentions... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
Cedric has confided in Zayd about his background, including his father’s incarceration, and while many of... (full context)
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
At Dr. Korb’s stately Boston home, Cedric is greeted by more than twenty people who are excited to meet him—he is the... (full context)
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
After Dr. Korb makes a toast to their special guest, he then encourages Cedric to call Barbara, who reminds him to watch what others around him are doing and... (full context)
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
Cedric feels slightly more comfortable after dinner and in conversation with Dr. Korb, who asks about... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
When it is time to go, Dr. Korb gives Cedric a ride to Cambridge, where he will be visiting some friends from his MIT program... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
Just as James is getting ready to leave, Cedric knocks on his door and wants to talk. He would like to take James’s fieldwork... (full context)
Chapter 11: Back Home
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Cedric has returned home for winter break, and is looking forward to Alumni Day at Ballou.... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
When Cedric arrives at Ballou for Alumni Day, he is more nervous than he expected to be,... (full context)
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
Cedric is eating out with LaTisha after taking her to the Sunday service at Scripture Cathedral,... (full context)
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
...a second service, and LaTisha stews in her sense of disappointment over her time with Cedric. He had mentioned that he was feeling less enthusiastic about his connection to the church,... (full context)
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
Back at Brown, Cedric is surprised by how comfortable he feels, and how he has come to see this... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
In another math class he is considering taking, Cedric sees one of the smarter students in the class, and realizes that he was the... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Cedric and Zayd are hanging out at The Gate, a popular eatery on campus, and Cedric... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Cedric still holds on to his feelings of frustration, though, and when Zayd’s friend joins them,... (full context)
Chapter 12: Let the Colors Run
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Cedric has arrived at Slater Junior High, a long bus ride from the Brown campus into... (full context)
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
After the class is over, the students crowd around Cedric and ask him about Brown. They have never heard of anyone attending Brown, despite the... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Barbara is talking to one of the middle managers at work about Cedric, and when she tells the man that her son is at Brown University, he expresses... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
...positions for the majority of their lives. She thinks about how things have changed with Cedric, how she tries to offer him advice about trusting in God, but she is not... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Back at Brown, there has been a positive change in the relationship between Cedric and Rob since they returned from break. One night, with the lights off, they talked... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Cedric has been estranged from Zayd, who had become more or less his best friend, since... (full context)
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
Cedric wanders down to Café Paragon, where Rob and his friends are celebrating Rob’s 19th birthday.... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
...the students that they are at Brown to develop their writing and analytical skills, but Cedric comments that he feels so angry and passionate about what he has seen at the... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
In class, Wakefield passes out the midterms and Cedric’s does not have a grade on it. He asks Cedric to come to his office... (full context)
Chapter 13: A Place Up Ahead
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
Cedric decides to make peace with Zayd, calling him on the phone to talk. He has... (full context)
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
In Cedric’s psychology class, Cedric finds that he has received a 30% on his midterm, a failing... (full context)
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
After all of his studying, Cedric is still worried about the exam, and comes into his regular calculus class a few... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Cedric spends most of spring break sleeping, with some trips to church and a special outing... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Chiniqua and Cedric bond over their love of Keith Sweat, an R&B artist who is not popular among... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
They continue their date at McDonald’s, where they lean across the booth to talk. Cedric continues his attempt to look tough, telling her about how he has shoplifted small things... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Cedric and Chiniqua go to see a movie, A Thin Line Between Love and Hate, starring... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Cedric feels that April is turning out to be his month: in addition to his date... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
The weekend of April 12th is a major party weekend at Brown, and Cedric is looking over the various flyers for events at the different houses on campus. He... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Cedric’s reluctance to join in with his classmates came to a head the previous evening, when... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
The following day, Cedric feels uneasy about his evening at the nightclub, and goes for a walk, creating distance... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
As Cedric wanders back to campus, he wonders why he needed to get off campus alone, and... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
Back in his dorm room, Cedric receives a call from Clarence Taylor, his old chemistry teacher, who happens to be in... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
Cedric then reminds Mr. Taylor of one of his quotations, about “a hope in the unseen,”... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Cedric decides to go to Harambee House with Chiniqua and some friends, and he has dressed... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
...would have been more appropriate for drug dealers and crew members in his high school, Cedric realizes that there is not much difference between these students and the suburban white kids,... (full context)
Chapter 14: Meeting the Man
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
The school year is nearing its end, and Cedric is able to partake in another first—the Fugees performance is his first pop concert. He... (full context)
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
The only other task at hand is Cedric’s final paper for his education class—he needs to do well on this paper if he... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Nearing the very end of the year, the relationship between Rob and Cedric is strained again. They have been at war over their dorm sink, after Rob shaved... (full context)
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
...the friends who are still left on campus. He also attempts to say goodbye to Cedric, but his roommate hardly looks up from his calculus book and says nothing in return.... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
Cedric is frustrated at himself, and at his inability to reciprocate Rob’s offer of peace until... (full context)
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
Barbara feels ashamed, but she has to tell Cedric, because if Minister Borden doesn’t come up with the money, they will be evicted at... (full context)
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
...money, and he asks the movers to slow down a bit. When they move towards Cedric’s room, he blocks the doorway and keeps them out for the moment. (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
...guarding Barbara’s belongings outside on the street, because until the move is finished, she and Cedric are still officially tenants. There is a growing crowd waiting for the process to finish... (full context)
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
...take out a bank loan to help her, and then goes in to talk to Cedric. He tells her that he doesn’t belong there anymore. (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
In the days since the near-eviction, Cedric has not talked to Barbara at all. He is angry, and this anger has overtaken... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
Cedric Gilliam greets his son, and immediately asks about the girls at Brown, which is exactly... (full context)
Anger Theme Icon
Cedric receives his grades from Brown: he got an A in calculus, a B in his... (full context)
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
A few weeks later, Cedric dresses and goes to church to speak with Bishop Long. They talk about Barbara first,... (full context)
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
Cedric goes to church on Sunday, without Barbara, who is sleeping in. He does not want... (full context)
Epilogue
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Religion and Hope Theme Icon
In 1997, Cedric begins his junior year at Brown, and is beginning to feel more comfortable in this... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
Cedric and Rob did eventually become friends, and laughed together about their passive-aggressive sink decoration from... (full context)