A classmate of Cedric’s from Ballou, Phillip goes to great lengths to fit in with everyone during high school, sacrificing his academic success in order to not stand out and run the risk of being bullied. He criticizes Cedric for being standoffish and not making more of an effort to make friends in high school; however, after graduation, Phillip ends up in a dead-end job in the mailroom of a newspaper, while Cedric secures a highly coveted place at Brown University. While at one point, he wanted to become a comedian or a tap dancer, Phillip eventually drops all of his ambitions due to the fact that his father, a devout Jehovah’s Witness, believed that personal ambition was sinful. Phillip stands in contrast to Cedric, who sacrificed fitting in for a better future.
Phillip Atkins Character Timeline in A Hope in the Unseen
The timeline below shows where the character Phillip Atkins 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
...passes by classmates who call him names, like “the amazing nerdboy.” A popular boy named Phillip Atkins begins to taunt him, and as Cedric pushes past, Phillip pretends to start a... (full context)
Chapter 3: Rise and Shine
Chapter 6: The Pretender
...in a triple homicide while working at McDonald’s, and another was killed while dealing drugs. Phillip Atkins is working in the mailroom of a newspaper, and LaTisha comments that while the... (full context)
...himself. Many of his classmates from Ballou have not had the same success after graduation: Phillip Atkins is still working in the mailroom; LaTisha has dropped out of college and joined... (full context)