Race, Racism, and Identity
A Hope in the Unseen is set in inner-city Washington, D.C., in the 1990s, where Cedric Jennings seeks to lift himself out of poverty and attend Brown University. The story chronicles Cedric’s successes and failures along the way, focusing on the struggles that African Americans face when they aspire to improve their social or economic status. Throughout the story, Cedric works to fit in without losing his sense of self. This proves difficult as Cedric…read analysis of Race, Racism, and Identity
Class vs. Wealth
Even among African Americans, there are a variety of class distinctions that further complicate Cedric Jennings’s sense of self in A Hope in the Unseen. In Cedric’s community in a poor part of Washington, D.C., class is represented by extravagant displays of wealth. Once he leaves his neighborhood, however, Cedric finds that class is far more complicated than meets the eye, which invariably makes upward mobility more difficult than it may seem.
In…read analysis of Class vs. Wealth
Academic Support Systems
A Hope in The Unseen follows an African-American student named Cedric Jennings as he grows up in a deeply impoverished part of Washington, D.C., and eventually attends the prestigious Brown University. Cedric’s almost herculean leap from inner-city poverty to an Ivy League college is a testament not only to his intellect and ambition, but also to the systems of academic support that helped shepherd him toward success, highlighting that academic success is not just the…read analysis of Academic Support Systems
In A Hope in the Unseen, many of the characters in Cedric’s neighborhood express anger over the circumstances that keep them in poverty. Cedric’s narrative demonstrates how anger can actually be a productive and positive force, however, as long as it is channeled appropriately. Cedric’s anger fuels his motivation to succeed—he calls it “something to push against”—showing that anger can make a person more tenacious and committed to their goals.
The sense of…read analysis of Anger