Cedric’s best friend at Brown during his freshman year, Zayd is the child of two progressive activists (both of whom used to be on the FBI’s Most Wanted list), and enjoys befriending someone so different from himself. His motto of “try anything” is jarring to Cedric, who has been raised with strict behavioral rules and moral boundaries; it also causes some tension with Zayd’s mother, Bernadine, who sees her son as an unprincipled fun-seeker. Just as Cedric and Chiniqua bond over music, Zayd and Cedric bond over their shared love of rap and hip hop, and Cedric is continually impressed by Zayd’s knowledge of musical genres that most white students at Brown knew nothing about, forcing him to confront some of his preconceived ideas about white people. However, Cedric is besieged by worries about his new friend’s motives—he accuses Zayd of being friends with a black, inner-city kid in order to seem more edgy and cool. Their friendship is tumultuous throughout the year, but in the end, Zayd wins Cedric over, as Cedric begins to feel more comfortable with interracial friendships.
Zayd Dohrn Character Timeline in A Hope in the Unseen
The timeline below shows where the character Zayd Dohrn appears in A Hope in the Unseen. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 8: Fierce Intimacies
Chapter 9: Bill Payers on Parade
...with other Brown parents, who seem foreign and confusing to them. Before leaving, they meet Zayd’s parents, who greet them enthusiastically and gush over what a great kid Cedric is. Barbara... (full context)
Chapter 10: A Bursting Heart
Chapter 11: Back Home
Chapter 12: Let the Colors Run
Chapter 13: A Place Up Ahead