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.
The SAT Symbol Icon

The SAT, or Scholastic Aptitude Test, is a method of evaluating a student’s academic progress, and one of the factors that helps to determine whether or not a student should be admitted to a particular college or university. For Cedric Jennings, however, it is much more than a measure of progress or intelligence—for him, the SAT represents his overall value as a person, even after he is enrolled in the college of his dreams. The first time Cedric appears in A Hope in the Unseen, he is hiding out in the chemistry classroom, cramming for the vocabulary portion of the exam. He is anxious because he scored lower than expected on his PSAT (a practice test for the SAT that he took in the tenth grade), and is focused on a significantly higher score on the SAT. Each time Cedric interacts with other students who are equally ambitious, the topic of SAT scores always comes up (even at Brown), and each time, Cedric is consumed with shame over his below-average score, which feeds into and symbolizes his low self-esteem.

The SAT Quotes in A Hope in the Unseen

The A Hope in the Unseen quotes below all refer to the symbol of The SAT. 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 3 Quotes

“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 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:
Get the entire A Hope in the Unseen LitChart as a printable PDF.
A Hope in the Unseen PDF

The SAT Symbol Timeline in A Hope in the Unseen

The timeline below shows where the symbol The SAT 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
...building, his usual sanctuary from the slings and arrows of high school, studying for the SATs. (full context)
Chapter 3: Rise and Shine
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
...started on his schoolwork, rather than sitting around worrying about MIT, his grades, or the SATs. He makes it in to school, where Mr. Govan opens up the computer lab early... (full context)
Chapter 4: Skin Deep
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
...comfortable with the other kids in the program, Cedric decides to ask them about their SAT scores, and finds that their scores are much higher than his own. And when he... (full context)
Chapter 5: To Him Who Endureth
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
Anger Theme Icon
...is reconsidering his lofty ambitions. He thinks about Reverend Keels, who tutors students wanting higher SAT scores, and who made Cedric feel bad about his 910 score. He had informed Cedric... (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 under the average... (full context)
Chapter 7: Goodbye to Yesterday
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
...think of 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... (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... (full context)
Chapter 8: Fierce Intimacies
Race, Racism, and Identity Theme Icon
Class vs. Wealth Theme Icon
Academic Support Systems Theme Icon
...and given both tutoring and counseling on a regular basis. She scored 1100 on her SATs, and did not need affirmative action to attend Brown University. (full context)