Behold the Dreamers

Behold the Dreamers

by

Imbolo Mbue

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Behold the Dreamers: Chapter 44 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Neni goes to Judson Memorial Church to help fold fundraising envelopes and stuff them into envelopes. The assistant pastor, Amos, tells her that Natasha is at an interfaith conference but should return in about an hour. When Natasha arrives back, Neni enters her office, prepared to say goodbye. She asks Neni if there are any new developments with Jende’s immigration case. Neni says that they’re still waiting and hoping, but her friend, Betty, offers her the possibility of divorcing Jende for a few years, marrying Betty’s cousin, and getting a green card through him. Natasha nods and listens. She then asks Neni if staying in America is more important to her than her family. She says that a lot could go wrong with this plan.
Neni finds solace and purpose at the church. Volunteering gives her a break from her routine and an excuse to get out of the house, which is becoming increasingly gloomy due to Jende’s bad moods. She can also talk freely to Natasha in a way that she can’t with anyone else. Neni’s idea to divorce Jende in favor of marrying Betty’s cousin is the first sign in her desperation to do anything to remain in America. She and Jende have reversed positions, and now it’s Neni who’s willing to stay and fight. It seems that getting the money from Cindy on her own has given Neni courage to find solutions.
Themes
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Neni understands and mentions a friend from work whose sister married a Jamaican man for papers so that she could bring her husband and children to the U.S. Then, the man refused to give her a divorce unless she gave him fifty thousand dollars. Now, she’s just praying that the man will stop being so greedy so that she can reunite with her family. Neni doesn’t think that this will happen to her, though; Betty’s cousin is a nice man.
Neni calms her fear of something going wrong by reminding herself that Betty’s cousin is “a nice man” and that her friend wouldn’t recommend someone to her who would be so greedy and cruel. However, the story reveals how people at all levels of society try to profit from the helplessness of those who are undocumented.
Themes
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon