Behold the Dreamers

Behold the Dreamers

by

Imbolo Mbue

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Behold the Dreamers: Chapter 30 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Jende returns home early that evening and finds Winston eating kwacoco and banga soup at his table. He announces that he’s going to see his ex-girlfriend, Maami, next weekend. He found her on Facebook, he says. She’s living in Texas and has a boyfriend—“a little white thing”—but Winston thinks that’ll change when she sees him again. Jende makes a joke in which he suggests that Maami should “compare the snakes,” and whoever has the longer one wins. Liomi questions the analogy, and Jende shouts at him to go do his homework, causing Neni to admonish him for shouting. Winston asks them to stop shouting before he “[swears] off marriage forever.”
Just as Neni predicted, Winston is looking to settle down with a Cameroonian woman and is undeterred by the fact that his former sweetheart is in a relationship with someone else and lives in another city. Winston speaks of Maami’s boyfriend in a way that emasculates him (“little white thing”), but it’s really an assertion of his belief that a white man is inappropriate for Maami, just as Neni thought that Jenny was inappropriate for Winston.
Themes
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Jende tells Neni and Winston about his meeting with Cindy. They insist that Jende tell Cindy what she wants to know, and that it wouldn’t serve him well to make her angry. Winston reminds Jende that she can cause him to lose his job. Jende wonders why Cindy can’t just ask her husband what she wants to know. Winston thinks for a moment and says that, in a couple of days, Jende should go to Cindy and say that, if she fires him, Jende will tell everyone about her drug use. Neni high-fives Winston, thinking his plan is brilliant. Jende can’t bring himself to do such a thing to a woman who has so many troubles, but Neni reminds Jende that he doesn’t have a relationship with Cindy. Winston agrees: Jende’s just a black man who drives her around; he shouldn’t worry about Cindy.
Unlike Jende, Neni and Winston know that Cindy can manipulate Clark into firing Jende no matter how much Clark might not want to. Jende’s responses are a bit naïve: if Cindy were to ask Clark directly about infidelity, predictably, he would deny any wrongdoing. Jende’s unwillingness to expose Cindy’s drug use in revenge for the possibility of being fired is not only the result of pity but fear of what Clark, a man he respects, would think of him for saying such things about his wife. He tries to remember his role and his loyalty to his own family, but he still wants the Edwardses’ approval.
Themes
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Jende insists that he understands that he’s merely Cindy’s chauffeur, but that doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t feel sorry for her. Neni reminds Jende that, if Cindy decides to have him fired, it’s she who’ll cry, not Cindy. Jende doesn’t think that Clark would ever fire him because of his wife and assures Neni and Winston that he’ll handle the matter right and will not lose his job. Neni is skeptical and insists that the only way to escape this situation is to shut Cindy up. Cindy may look weak, but she knows how to get what she wants from people. Jende wonders how he got himself involved in the Edwardses’ marriage. Winston says that women can be tricky and that, if Jende doesn’t give Cindy what she wants, she may make up a story about Jende so that Clark will get rid of him.
Neni knows that Jende’s admiration for the Edwardses is clouding his judgment. She tries to remind him that his own family is his first obligation, and that his decisions must always reflect that loyalty. Having seen Cindy’s duplicity in the Hamptons—that is, the presentation of one image in public and another privately—Neni doesn’t trust her. Both Neni and Winston characterize Cindy as passive-aggressive and as someone who will use her vulnerability to manipulate her husband.
Themes
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon