Behold the Dreamers

Behold the Dreamers

by

Imbolo Mbue

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Behold the Dreamers: Chapter 32 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Twice a day, Jende writes down what Clark does, including times, locations, and names. He also adds descriptions of people, though their actions and behaviors contribute nothing to the narrative. Jende uses the opportunity to use words and phrases that he learned from reading the dictionary that he’s owned since secondary school, and expressions that he picked up for the newspaper. He offers this language as proof to Cindy that he’s thinking carefully as he writes. On Friday evening, however, after driving Clark from the Chelsea Hotel to his office, he writes that he has driven Mr. Edwards from Washington, DC to the gym and then back to work. As often as he can, he writes “gym” in the place of the Chelsea Hotel. During weeks in which Clark goes to the hotel more than twice, he invents another lie.
Jende takes his job as recorder seriously. He tries to be precise to hide from Cindy the fact that he’s lying. He also uses the opportunity to show the Edwardses that, despite being a chauffeur, he has some level of education. Jende writes “gym” in the place of the Chelsea Hotel because it’s a place where someone would normally spend an hour to relieve stress. However, Clark’s diminished looks, due to stress, offer no physical evidence that he’s been frequenting a gym.
Themes
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
In moments in which Jende fears that Cindy may have tried to contact Clark while he’s at the hotel, Jende writes that they were stuck in the Holland Tunnel, where there’s poor phone reception, in bad traffic. Another time, he writes that Clark had to rush to a meeting in a taxi while Jende was on his way back from picking up Mighty, so Jende had no way to know where Clark was going or whom he was meeting. Jende carries the notebook with him at all times and hands it to Cindy to read every morning. She nods in satisfaction with his work. Jende notices no more phone calls to her friends about “what he’s doing to me.” She laughs a bit more, but she still looks unhealthily thin. She talks a lot about Vince, worrying that he hasn’t responded to her email.
Jende invents one lie after another in the interest of protecting Clark and keeping the Edwardses together. The time that he takes to invent such lies reveals how deeply invested he is in protecting Clark and, in doing so, in protecting his own job. His explanations satisfy Cindy because they’re all reasonable. The notes also work to lift her mood, due to her newfound belief that her marriage is actually secure. Despite her fear, it also seems that Cindy reveled in the drama of her unraveling marriage, for it gave her an excuse to seek pity and attention—now, she turns to Vince as a means to stir up more drama.
Themes
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Jende wants very much for Cindy to have fun and she seems to have it when she and Clark attend a gala at the Waldorf Astoria the Monday after Thanksgiving. The holiday had been a happy one because Clark’s parents, his sister, Ceci, and his nieces visit. Mighty tells Jende about what “an awesome Thanksgiving” the Edwardses had and that they had celebrated it with June’s family. Jende can see in Cindy’s new joy that the security of family is “her greatest source of happiness.” On the night of the gala, she and Clark enter the car beaming. She looks “lustrous” in a red strapless gown, and he looks suave in a well-tailored tuxedo. They reenter the car five hours later even happier, laughing at what “had transpired on the dance floor.” Back home, Jende tells Neni that he never thought a day would come would he would see the Edwardses so happy.
If Cindy is having fun, it means that she won’t hound Jende for more information about Clark’s whereabouts based on her suspicions. Jende seems to think that his plan has worked because Cindy is once again calm, seemingly happy, and secure in the company of family and friends. Their glamorous appearances for the gala, as well as their display of closeness, restores Jende’s image of the Edwardses as a happy couple who lead the idyllic lives that everyone would like to have. Jende feels that he can take some credit for their happiness.
Themes
Family and Belonging Theme Icon